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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  August 18, 2009 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT

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to work with our relevant add morers at the federal level. so thank you very much for the opportunity to testify today. .. you are so right about making sure that we continue to remind people that this is going to happen. it is not going to happen only in one part of the country. it could happen anywhere at any time.
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your observation about the fact this is non-partisan is so true, as well as this committee's response of congress and particularly this committee has also been not partisan but it is important to always remember even in places like florida where it has been a few years since we got hit by the big one, andrew, which was not as big as we thought. it was huge, but you get complacent. it is important to keep reminding us not to do that. thank you for bringing that up again. thanks. >> thanks very much, mr. anh cao. if that was the standard it would be the budget of the state of louisiana for decades. that may be what we end up paying because of the nature of the disaster, thank you very much. we are pleased now to welcome
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our first witness, administrator fugate, the new administrator of the federal emergency management agency itself, his first appearance before our subcommittee. welcome, mr. fugate. >> thank you, chairman. ranking member diaz-balart and other members of the committee, it is an honor to be here before your committee, talking about catastrophic disasters. what is a catastrophic disaster? by what definition do we use? and national response framework, we define it as any natural or man-made incident including terrorism the result in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage or destruction severely affecting the population, infrastructure, environmental economy and national, government functions. on the account of 100,000, have a catastrophic event, it may not
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be catastrophic to the overall system. i often think we talk catastrophic predicate of the at our level of fema, those events that have national impact verses those that may be very localized, that we can still respond with our normal process and resources to get in there quickly. when we talk about catastrophic, we're talking about those events that are such magnitude they take on the significance of impacting our national ability to respond, recover, and move on from those. in particular, i was interested in a conversation, both opening statements and questions as to the stafford act, one that is an extremely flexible document and capable of doing many things, yet what else do we need to do to make it more responsive? i would like to lay out how i am going to approach this in my confirmation process and the two months i have been there. i taking a three tier approach. until i have guidance from
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congress on which way you want to proceed, the most immediate thing is to look at policy internally and address that first. that is our first -- had directed someone on board, dealing with those matters of individual assistance and public assistance. that are brought up on do we do that, limiting what we do in the disaster, the second piece, looking at rules, the federal registry which governs, the stafford act under. and looking at the stafford act as a whole. what we have done in policy guidance to make sure it is not prescribing us from using the tools and the stafford act given to us. when we talk about catastrophic,
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we look at the past, i am looking to the future. some of the scenarios we still face, what are some of the other things we could face? california earthquake, a major hurricane on the gulf coast in florida, a hurricane that strikes hawaii, and looking at developing plans based on what the impact our. one of the challenges we had an emergency management, we planned our capability and hope the disaster is not any bigger. when you don't plan for the potential impact and look at how the system is applied, you have the illusion that you are able to manage these events at the point of failure, you have catastrophic failure, not just a system you need to expand. i believe in partnerships. one of the things i want to make clear as we talk about disaster response the tween catastrophic disaster response, fema is not a
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team. fema is part of the team. under the federal system we have the leverage and work as partners with our local, state, federal agencies, private sector, volunteer, faith based community-based organizations in the public to build a team that response to these very large scale events, some of which may reach the deck on the national scale of the catastrophic. to summarize, the stafford act has a lot of tools in it, but we must first take a look at our policy and guidance which we are using to determine what we can do within the scope of stafford's address, what has been raised in previous disasters and the ones we are facing, building a team based upon what consequences we are facing and some of these events and building that capability by leveraging all of the resources of the country, not just looking at fema. third, finally, the
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understanding that a catastrophic disaster, we must not continue to look at the public as a liability, to look at the resources that we incorporate into our planning. too off and i run into challenges where we have, in many cases, plans for the -- the able-bodied adult to understand english and have enough means to take care of themselves, the impact of disaster. that is not the community we live in. they're made of people at disabilities. that will address those challenges. we have to design plans that address the needs of the community, not just those folks that are as easy to help. i will conclude my remarks and
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welcome questions. >> thank you. will you describe your own background, when it began, what it began as 3 or present position? >> we started out with the fire rescue department, a paramedic firefighter. i was asked to work on the county disaster plans. >> where was that located? >> alachua county, florida. i began working in 1987, that took me ten years at the county level as emergency manager, i had several large-scale chemical incidents that we dealt with as well as numerous other storms, flooding events, but fortunately when hurricane andrew hit, alachua county was not directly impacted all the we hosted a
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evacuees from south florida. in 1997 i was offered the opportunity to go to the state and served as bureau chief of response, i joined the team of the late governor, charles, looking at the lessons of hurricane andrew and what had happened to address the concerns the state had, i joined the team that was working hard with the florida legislature to continue to build and improve upon that. we found out in 1998 how much we were able to move forward, we had 200 days acting to wild fires, floods and hurricane george. the situation was such that for the first time on the east coast we evacuated an entire county during wild fires because of the threat. in 2001 i was asked by governor bush to serve as director of emergency management. that october serving in that capacity through 2004 hurricane season, we had four land falling hurricanes, between 2004, and
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2005, we had a total of eight hurricanes hit the state of florida, of which were major hurricanes. in addition, the aftermath of hurricane katrina, at the request of the state of mississippi, we provided emergency management systems contact and close to 7,000 responses and spending $80 million in state funds and providing everything from search and rescue teams and communications, food, water and ice and just about anything else we could provide for those local governments at the request of the governor. we also sent resources to the state of the louisiana but we ended up, because of the proximity of the road systems and effectively lost the eye can bridge across lake pontchartrain to provide assistance. governor bush stepped down, governor crist was elected, the appointed me, one month into his administration we had a tornado outbreak with 21 fatalities.
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this spring i was asked to serve as administration, confirmed in may, i have been serving as fema administrator for the last two months. >> as you lay out that history, that is important to this subcommittee. it has been the view of this subcommittee, particularly for unforeseen disasters, but even for the run-of-the-mill disaster at the federal level, the respect of your testimony, indicated by my opening statement says about responsibility lying at the state, somebody who has been there, done that, and has very deep experience in the emergency management. we are pleased to put that on the record because the president has appointed somebody who has
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what appears to be experience in democratic and republican administration, appointed to his present position and others he had. that is important for us and for the record to show because i am going to ask a question about this agency, someone in this subcommittee, the side of congress itself, it seemed to fall apart after -- after hurricane katrina. nobody expected being able to rush in like a knight and shining armor to rescue louisiana, but it was hard to know which side was up, saved by the coast guard, people from various states and the result was postkatrina and even now,
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pending legislation, that even takes fema out, we would like you to tell this committee, about the independence of the agency within the department of homeland security, perhaps major criticism was while fema was a nimble agency before, got on the ground quickly, that somehow it became mired in the superstructure of the department of homeland security and all decisions had to go from the administrator through some bureaucracy created in setting up the department to the
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detriment of fema. we left fema in homeland security but we passed legislation making it clear that homeland security was not to compromise the ability of this agency to move forward. i want some indication from you whether or not fema is as independent as anybody would expect, given the fact that it is still in the department of homeland security. it goes to how the reporting those, you are equipped and authorized to make decision, you have to ask somebody, the bureaucracy before a decision can be made, whether it is made in washington or louisiana, i want to know what the chain of command is in your own agency
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before we get down to do something. our independent is this agenhow within the bureaucracy today? there are no officials between you and the secretary. has that changed? >> that was a direct result of the post katrina emergency management format which is the administrator reports directly to the secretary. >> that is important for us to know. since you have been in the agency that is how it has been handled? >> pretty much so. i have direct access to the secretary. she is working with her deputy, branched out, some of the things we're looking at in the financial review. those are more a function of the secretary assigning work. >> do you have to go to the secretary for everything?
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fema is given authority, we didn't change the authority of fema to put fema in the department of homeland security. can you make most decisions you have to make on your own if you have to say this is what i want to do, madam secretary, do i have your sign off? >> there are some things that, because of procurement or other issues that are assigned to secretaries that goes through that level but by and large -- >> what matters in a disaster? would you then have signed offs for matters in a disaster within your budgetary authority? >> madam chairman, yes. >> thank you, sir. we have understood that bureaucracy has to clear your actress. that is not the case? >> secretary to paul lozano having served as governor, understand the role of responsibility we have in supporting governors, there are
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many moving pieces within homeland security but within a disaster itself we are able to move forward and take the actions we need to take. >> as if you were an independent agency, or not. i don't want to put words in your mouth. >> under my relationship through the secretary, we are able to perform our function. >> report is one thing, permission is another. we get into permission matters, that superside the disaster we're talking about, will be supersize, repeated. what is the role of the office of operations, coordinations? the average person really move this country once we get into -- what is the office of operations coordination, when was it created, by whom and what is its
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function? >> madam chair, i defer to the lan security, that was created and has been a standing element prior to me joining fema. in our center we have a natural response coordination center that we coordinate with the national operations center. other components coordinate with the national operations center which gives the secretary visibility on a variety of issues, coastal issues, other activities that occur within the department under her perview.
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>> the agency appears to be relying on -- this really does get the commission upset, the committee upset, because it appears to be relying on these outdated administrative documents, more for everybody. this is exactly what we had in mind when we passed the katrina act and overruled these administrative documents. can you explain, in light of the post katrina act, why hspd5 is
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still an outstanding and minister of document, and the role of the so-called office operations coordination in preparing for or responding to a disaster, this has a role and function, why in the world are you relying, where the agency appears to be relying on administrative documents that have been overruled, overruled? >> madam chair, as part of the executive branch, the president's prerogative and executive order, looking at those that were issued in previous administration carrying forward in visit ministrations, many of these are still under review. as to what the emergency format speaks to, maybe in conflict with homeland security presidential decision no. 5, i am aware of these issues but i have a more focused on our role
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of responsibilities and administered our part of that program. >> i am pleased to learn that these matters are under review. it could get really bad and you lose the 40. we have the same problem with principal federal officer. we were visited more than once because of what we had witnessed on the ground, red tape. after katrina. the so-called principle federal officer, that substance matter will have to pardon me while i get through these bureaucratic
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names that they paced onto functions where sometimes a function disappears or is in conflict with the mandate. but here goes. it is called the principles -- pfo -- conflicts directly with the staff statutory created federal coordinating office, so that some hats are on the ground no matter who comes, whoever is in charge stands up. there's a war with natural disaster. god knows who's in charge. that was one thing katrina taught us to clear up. these duplicative functions recited as a primary cause of the failed response to hurricane katrina. that is why we had some
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aspiration. concerning this officer. does this seek the repeal of the statutory mandate put in place to avoid duplication, and the 50 whether the agency is relying on administrative documents that have been overruled and are back under review, after that, the national response framework to attempt to regards -- this regard the statutory provisions. we need further clarification. when an agency is simply in contempt, we visit it again and we need to know about these p f
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o, we are joined by the committee on homeland security which has the same problem cosigned with us on letters and co-sponsored with us, the statutory repeal. could i have your answer? >> i will refer some of that back to the department, but as far as the f ceo goes, it is clear to me that under a -- emergency or major presidential, the person -- >> say that again. >> my interpretation of the standard act in post katrina emergency format clearly states that when the president declares an emergency or a major presidential disaster declaration, the federal coordinating officer as the authority to execute -- >> who has the authority? the federal coordinating
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officer? >> yes. >> what is the federal officer, highly paid official doing on the ground at how am i to know if i come from out of state who is in charge? >> under the stafford act declaration it will be the federal coordinating officer who is authorized by the president to support the federal response on the request of that government. >> say that again, i am sorry. >> the federal were mating officer, on behalf of the president, is authorized under the stafford act to were made -- >> how do you make that distinction, to state officials, ordinary citizens on the ground, and if, in fact, the president of the united states has confidence in the federal coordinating officer, why would it be necessary to pay somebody
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else to be on the ground to report to the department of homeland security? >> madam chairman, i will defer back to the agency. my focus is under my authority with the federal coordinating officer as appointed by the president when there is a declaration, it is clear that they have the authority on behalf of the president to coordinate the federal response as well as a minister the stafford act. >> after congress passes the stafford act? >> i am not disputing that. under my purview, i make the recommendations, appointed to the federal coordinating officer under the stafford act. the federal official program is not something that fema, is not something we administrate. >> let me indicate that the appropriation supports our view, they were supported many times over now, that we don't have money to spent on another top layer, beside the top layer that is already there, we never had a
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satisfactory answer to y two people on the ground after hurricane katrina which gave us a disaster, we don't intend to tolerate it any longer, and if we find that such an officer is funded we will ask the appropriations committee to defund it and we will expected ministrations to abide by the mandate of congress. i will ask powell is he has any questions. >> you mentioned the work that norton is not part of the team. i noticed after katrina, there was a lack of teamwork along the different federal agencies. i am not sure what steps you have initiated in order to better cowher in a between your
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office and the other offices and agencies. >> we're working with other elements to prepare for the next disaster. part of that team work, hopefully we are starting to see some daylight in louisiana. we have worked with the state, secretary naplitano has been there, nancy ward made significant personnel changes to begin moving forward, to begin that process that often times was seen as state and federal government and local government not being able to move forward. we have been working on our part to respond to this, to move forward and get projects committed, to move the money and begin that rebuilding on those projects that have been in
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dispute. we have been working aggressively to address those challenges. part of the discussion that i am very much aware of is often times in a large scale disaster, catastrophic disaster, there are other programs that can be brought to bear. it works best when it is done looking at what the stafford act can do and other community development grant dollars working together to address community issues, and when you go back and say what were the lessons of hurricane katrina, was the fact that in many cases, we did not do a good job looking at all of our federal programs, matching those to the needs of the community and often times looking at only one or two programs and not having the ability to reach across the federal family of programs that can meet those challengess or support the needs of those communities. an example is children. we look at our plan and forget the children can be 20% of the
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population. if you look get children issues, there's not much in the stafford act other than talking about facilities are things that get to that. i am not sure we are the experts on that. there are other federal program that every day have funds that go to local communities to support day care and other issues. we should look at how we partner with the federal funding sources and built and that team. fema is not having to recreate a system that already exists, we are part of a team that can leverage that and provide assistance and work with those federal agencies that do this every day in the community so we can meet the needs and that is what i think is part of building the team, not going back and creating a new program if we already have one but making sure we are leveraging those programs with those programs fema has with programs that exist every day and when disaster strikes, making sure we on the federal side are working as a team to address those challenges. ..
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>> in order to provide at least a area with a very clear that towards recovery. >> congressman, i believe so. i have often asked this question. what does long term recovery look like if we are successful? if people can describe pieces of that, but it often times seems to be hinged upon so many different aspects that i think you are right. there is no one single federal agency that has all of the answers. knowing from the perspective of theme and the tools that we have, we obviously need to be a better partner with the federal of family. with that long term recovery mission resides in fema or another federal agency, i think we all have to look at as you pointed out some of the things that have to occur to say we can move forward is addressing housing. if you look at dean is housing programs they are really shelter programs. if you don't have a long term affordable housing solution at the end of the 18 to 24 month wind up keeping people in what should've been much shorter time frames and sheltering operations
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that we end up now three, four, five years later we still have got about 2400 folks that are intemperate housing units. these are really shelter programs that should've had an outcome that said at the end of that time frame we had enough housing on board to make that transition out of that sheltering program and when it didn't occur if we were still keeping people in what should've been a much shorter timeframe. but we didn't have that fall along. that i think is where we have to do a better job both at the local, state and federal families describing the outcome and then going back on the federal side and identifying who has already got existing authorities for researchers or capabilities. oftentimes, we look at funding mechanisms, is not necessarily just funding the stafford act but looking at the other federal programs that would make more sense to provide that capability to them in that disaster response that they have the programs that can actually deal with longer-term solutions versus many of fema is programs which are based on a shorter-term response like
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activity or rebuilding activities based upon damages that occurred as a direct result of a storm. >> and just one last question to ask you if you don't mind. mr. fugate, after speaking to different people, more or less, and we come to an agreement that the stafford act does not prevent fema from reaching a lump-sum settlement in order to speed up the recovery process. i know that the recent law allows for fema to initiate an opportune mystic process but in the process in and of itself is a project by project, arbitration which at the same time does not at least in my view speed up and allows the state and local municipalities with the flexibility to coordinate the recovery process.
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are you in the process of looking at ways that we could try to settle, allow the state or a city, agency to settle with the fema in a lump-sum amount and then from there just to allow the state and the local government the flexibility to have been initiate a recovery plan as they would see fit for their own communities? >> though, there are two options here. one is to design a program that looks a lot like community block development grants. we do an estimate, write a check and we're done. i think the problem with that is oftentimes disasters are so complex that we don't know enough initially and we oftentimes keep going back. i think a better option let's take a school system. let's take the jefferson school system. instead of writing each building as a project, what if we wrote the district as a project for the campus as a project and gave
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a more flexibility within those structures. i think the tendency to look at every item, every building as a separate project worksheet is not something that necessarily lends itself to the flexibility you are asking for. so one of the things i've asked staff to go back and look at, do we have the tools, cantley with the stafford act do things that allow us to write projects based upon a function, not necessarily each piece of that function. the example you race was a police station, fire stations. we treated those each has an individual component but what if we step back and said let's look at the parish, the fire department as of the city of new orleans. do we have the ability to step back and not try to re-create it station by station because that may not be the need, given the change in population and rebuilding schedules. it may have been more important to do other things within the overall framework of what was impacted, what is eligible and how do we move forward. so we are asking the questions, what's the best way to approach
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that. and then look at it we cannot get there with our authorities that we have under stafford, under csr, then that discussions back to war if congress would like to provide any additional guidance to us in stafford. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. cal. mr. cao. with a new ministration i think it is fair to ask, are you, mr. fugate, in light of the broad side bipartisan criticisms of fema since hurricane katrina and even recognizing statutory changes in some improvement of the agency sense, would not a wholesale overhaul of the agency be in order at this time to assure that it is a nimble
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functioning agency? >> madam chair, that is definitely the prerogative of congress. >> i am talking administrative overhaul. i'm not talking about anything that the statute would say do. i'm talking about the kind of things that congress expected to happen afterwards, based on the administrative arm and had in place. or do you think that administrative arm is now functioning to the level that is required and does not need to have a look at its functions in every department and every aspect by new administration? >> madam chair -- >> any change we can believe in? >> madam chair, that is what we're doing. i've been here two months and have been able to bring a lot of folks back in that bring in state and local experience. i will be looking forward to my deputy coming on board, the
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senate can confirm at the recommendation of the president that will have a person with city experience. when of people that have worked in state government. and we're building our leadership ranks banked a check based upon people have done this, being in the field and have big customers of been a. if you ever seen our organization chart, it is far past any reasonable control and does not resemble what we do. and i've always believed firmly -- >> what does it resemble? >> it looks like a spider. everybody report to the boss and nobody seems to be able to figure out what we do. if you look at the order chart i doubt anybody could understand what fema does. i am a firm believer that form should follow function, that we should be organized by what we do. and these are the steps that we are currently going through as we build that team is to look at how we have been doing things and putting emphasis on outcomes, not process. the other thing we have instituted, there's this tendency to think you are going
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to know what the next disaster is going to be which we know is not to. and i believe the best way to prove my point and to demonstrate our competencies is through no notice exercises to take us to the point of failure and to assure ourselves that we are learning the lessons from previous disasters and applying them to both those threats we are familiar with and arrested many people have never thought about. i just recently left the space weather prediction sister in a boulder, colorado, which deals with geomagnetic storms. and looking at the impact of a major storm across our infrastructure. these are natural hazards that nobody has really addressed and what causes far more trouble than people realize. so this is an approach that is based upon -- >> what could cause more trouble again? what are you calling them? >> we have within the national weather service in office that is within boulder, colorado, which does nothing but monitor the sun for solar flares and geomagnetic radiation. in certain events, though storms
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can be so powerful as the impact, whichever part of the globe is facing the sun, power outages across most of the united states simultaneously. >> has there been anything that might, my point, examples of what you mean? >> yes, ma'am. there have been solar storms so powerful that across northern tiers of our country, including canada, there have been power outages with the damage to infrastructure. there is a historical record even of 1859 that if it ocher today would result in about a 90% blackout of the power system of whatever part of the globe is facing the sun when it strikes. >> how about the ice storms that we had in the midwest just this past winter? is that tantamount to a smaller version of what you're talking about? >> no, ma'am. my storms are a feature of the atmosphere that is probably better understood, but the weather that occurs or what the river to the sun's activity, we are currently sitting right now
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entering into what is called the next solar maximus of activity for solar flare sunspots. these events based upon our vulnerabilities with our dependency upon satellite technology for the mitigation, navigation, as well as our dependency upon the power grid are the type of hazard that we have to expose to team through exercises and training. because again, we know a lot about hurricanes. we don't know a lot about the next disaster that is going to struggle when it will strike and we will get there by doing exercising to learn about hazard, but also to make sure that the team that we are building both within dhs, within the federal family and our state and local governments are faced with challenges that pushed us to the point where we are not just building a disaster response team for the things we are capable of. we're building it for the types of things that can impact this country. >> i'm going to ask dias-balart,
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but what you just described as a result of climate change? >> no, ma'am. this is just our son. and it is -- >> the sun has been all along why haven't we had that? >> because our technology becomes increasingly more vulnerable as we are more dependent upon satellite and infrastructure that is vulnerable to geomagnetic storms. >> who is telling that, sir? >> the national weather service, noaa has been doing this. is one of those programs that has been up. it is not well-known, but the impacts definitely within the industry are well known, particularly in the satellite industry. it is something that when we send our satellite we plan for impact the space station is one of the prime customers because during certain demonstration untransformed astronauts have to move into a safe location on the satellite to be protected during these storms. >> and of course we have had outages that took out great parts of the united states.
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mr. dias-balart. >> thank you, madam chairman. i had to step out for a phone call i had to take. thank you so much. you already touched on this in general terms but want to make sure i understand. if i were to get hit by the great miami hurricane again, we dhs as far as you know send a pfo team to florida? would that pfo or the fco be in charge of coordinating the federal response team? and would that be a full report to you or to the secretary of dhs? >> as i understand it, there would be a federal coordinating officer appointed and we would coordinate that response through the stafford act. as to that federal coordinating officer, if you remember back to hurricane andrew, the president made decision to appoint a cabinet official in that capacity to be the federal
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coordinating officer. so oftentimes it will depend upon the scale of expertise of that disaster as to whether or not it would be a staff member that is routinely designated to go out on disasters. it could be a regional administrator. i could find myself in that position, but it is the president's call as to who he appoints as federal coordinating officer. by those authorities under stafford act would be vested in that federal coordinating officer to manage that response and to service the point of contact with that governor and supporting the governor's request for more assistance from the federal federal government. >> i understand that. there are different circumstances that can take place, but again, let's just assume that it is a storm, a regular storm, not quite as big as like maybe the 37 that you had to deal with in the last couple of years in florida. if a pfo were sent, would the pfo report you are the secretary? again that's assuming that pfo
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would be sent. as far as you know, would there be a pfo said? congress has had an issue with that. >> congressman, under the stafford act and other the post-katrina act format it has been very good it would be a federal coordinating officer that would chordate on behalf of the federal government. the principal federal official program does not reside with the missile i cannot speak to that. my understanding is that the federal coordinating officer will be the point of contact and would be the principal implementation for stafford act and would serve on behalf of the president to coordinate requests assistance from the governor. >> and antigen that. my concern is exactly that but there is a sense that is outside of the month that, you know, who is in charge. i understand that you think obviously, and we believe, that you are right about that but i just want to make sure. i guess it is not a decision you would make but i want to make sure that if there is a storm, and all of a sudden a pfo is out
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there. who is in charge? that is one of our concerns, and i guess that's not a decision you would make but i want to make sure that you would be in charge, not somebody else on the south side group that we are not even too sure what they do. >> again, i serve, you know, report to the secretary. to the secretarsecretary and the president on emergency management. you know what i did in florida, the team we built, and i think that is the thing i really want to focus on is the individuals less important than building the team. we built a good team. i think a lot of these issues become secondary to our response, but if we don't have a good team and we are operating a separate entities trying to assist the state, these issues then become things that we will have to deal with. >> absolutely and hopefully we can deal with them before that happens. let me just kind of in the same vein but let me because i'm trying to understand really how it works. obviously we know there is a lot
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of steps being taken to prepare for a possible resurgence, god willing, will not happen of the swine flu, pandemic. so hhs is the lead for managing the medical crisis. we understand that. dhs is responsible for managing the consequences. now, we dhs, would dhs use theme is response team and regional offices to a manage the consequences or would dhs in a pfo team? or in various pfo teams to bypass fema, and with it again report to you as a secretary? i go back to the same issue. if that were to happen. how would that work? >> if we are outside of the stafford act, the secretary is under hspd-5 to chordate the rest of the federal family in support of hhs and dealing with issues that again we are not under stafford act declaration.
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that is a real potential here with this h. one in one. if it does not reach the severity that would war a stafford act, you want to have the ability which is not vested in the mid. it is vested in the secretary to coordinate on behalf of the president and those type of non-stafford act events. this goes back to the question such as when you're dealing with things like national, you know, the party national conventions or you're dealing with g-8 summit we don't have a disaster or declaration. having that ability to provide the coordination across the federal family is one of the mechanisms and one of the tools that exist under hspd-5. >> is there anything preventing the secretary from using fema outside of a stafford act? can be used in a of the stafford act declaration? >> absolutely and is one of the components we do work actively on those issues. we bring resources to the table. in fact, there are capabilities
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when it is a federal response not requiring a stafford act on behalf of the governor where fema serves as a coordination role supporting a lead agency such as nasa, such as hhs win war to. but again, you look at what resources we bring to bear, how we apply that. again, our primary capabilities are coordinating on behalf of the governor's request resources of federal government, administering the stafford act when you look at fema itself our capabilities other than the mechanisms is limited because we use other federal agencies, private sector and not impacted state and local government as the responders in a disaster. >> so the question, because precisely that, why not use fema if fema is available? again, this was really again i am trying to, and i'm asking the questions and you are obviously getting very direct answers, as you always do. but let me tell you, what my concern is that basically two separate structures now. for managing a disaster we have
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fema and then we have dhs and separate structure. are you going to be looking at those structures as you are looking to, you know, that you're looking at the rules and regulations etc. dealing with fema, are you going to the opportunity to look at those two structures and come up with recommendations to see it again if there's a problem how we can streamline, make sure there is no confusion for state and local officials? and we know there already is because we've heard that from the. i am sure you have heard it already. and maybe you're one of the ones when you are on the state level getting some of those complaints. but there is clearly confusion right now, and are you going to have a opportunity to look at that or is that something that is not something that you will look at and we need to continue to push the secretary on? >> to be fair, dean is part of the agencies planning for a 21 when we have been engaged, we are not sitting outside. we are part of that team. i think the second thing you need to understand is this hit
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at the transition of the new administration coming in. it was decision to go forward with a lot of the existing structures because when the first wave hit, many of the team had yet to come on board. we were using the existing to deal with the crisis. i think as we've come through that we're looking at a second wave. we are continuing to examine how we are doing things with dhs and i think that is a process bike weighs secretaries very much aware of the challenges we face and better to integrate all of our resources together. so to be fair, we are putting h1n1 planning. and h1n1 struck at the very beginning of the due administration where they did not have many of their staff on board, so they went and made it i think a wise decision to utilize the existing planning documents and the concepts of operation. and they have since been looking at how to improve those as we go forward. so as i've always warned, planning is a process, not an outcome that you necessarily get done. and i think we are very much working on a process of how the
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best to chordate across a body of threats whether it may be different agencies that have leadership roles that will always fall into the purview of a stafford act declaration. >> and i understand that. this may seem like a great logical topic for the review of the department. and as you heard, this is something that is nonpartisan, that we i guess, madam chairman, has actually gone to the point of even writing the president. we just want to make sure that there is no confusion, but there is obviously right now because some state and local officials have told us there is. so again, what i would like from you if possible, if it is not something that will be looked at, and that is something that we need to maybe push on our end, if it is something that will be looked at and we feel it would make me feel more at ease here it is obviously something has to be looked at to make sure there is no confusion in that chain of command. >> understand the. >> thank you, and thank you,
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madam chairman. thank you. >> thank you very much, mr. dias-balart. this is one that it needs to have a nail put right in it here so that it doesn't have to be brought up again. and i appreciate your response. let me be clear. we are not objecting to anything that the secretary would do in a non-stafford act event, so long as it is not a federal officer, federal coordinating officer appointed. we are objecting, remember who appoints the federal coordinating officer, and it's the secretary as far as i know. so it is in her power to appoint somebody who knows the difference, knows how to deal with being on the ground. and not unusual, just not unusual in the federal system
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for agencies like, let's take agencies like hhs who have very many assistant secretaries and others. these people have learned how to relate to the secretary the same time that they fulfill their statutory obligation. and committee is objecting to be ignored, having to go to the appropriation committee. they know we have asked for it to be defunded this year and our information was that the secretary wanted it but it. we don't care what she gets funded so long as that is not a stafford act notion, and as long as she makes that caveat, we are on the same page. and if we are not, then they need is fight started in the last administration, continues in this administration and is a waste of time that we've got too many things that we have to do. among them, the three-point we are talking about outdoors from the last of ministration, which give this committee a report which sends both sides of the wall when we learn as we were dealing with there were
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$3.4 billion in outstanding disputes between the state of louisiana and fema, led to an outside -- outside the response from the senator from louisiana. to have the president appoint arbitrators as just how bad it had become. we were very embarrassed by it at a time when most jurisdictions were begging for the kind of money that fema had not even gotten to the appeal. the problem was at the point of decision, and nobody had sat down to look at the various ways in which the federal government and others have solved such disputes. so we would like to know, what is the status of the 3.4? has any of it been dispersed and how much is left of that amount at this time?
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>> madam chairman, i could give you some of those numbers. some of those hours i would like staff to update because it is an evolving process. i asked the same question when i was originally briefed on the three-point for outstanding by the state of louisiana. i said what exactly are these projects? and they said this probably is more based upon their concern that current projects have been written will end up being appeal. so how much is really being appeal right now? that number is roughly half that is actually in the appeal process. many of those are working through the system through a group that we set up with the state of louisiana that we are very senior policy, very experienced in looking at the stafford act. and many of those are now being sent back down to the staff with guidance to move forward on. but the 3.4 billion, show me which projects are in that process. it is what i have heard was that this was based upon outstanding
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project worksheets yet to be completed, but the concern was their meet the appeals there. but what we have currently in house that the state of louisiana, through their local that are appealing is right at half a million. there are others yet made to come if we go through this -- >> have is on appeal? that means $3 billion is in dispute. and the notion that we even discussed theme unlike alj's, people who are upon agreement of parties for the procedures used with an break through this so that the state of louisiana by the way there was a similar mountain, not si, outstanding in mississippi could get on with it. this is one deadlock that we need to see broken right away at a time when the economy is on its knees every way, including in the states of louisiana and in mississippi. what is being done to break the deadlock between fema and
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louisiana on a $3 billion still in dispute? that is the question. >> madam chairman, as we go through the outstanding projects that are being written we have set up a team with the state in baton rouge that at a very high level -- >> that team consists of the parties. >> of our staff and their staff that are working -- >> so is likely to you when you played your courtesy visit, each of these parties has a structural problem. and i'm going to leave this on the record so everybody knows what our concern is. this is a structural problem. your mandate is to keep louisiana, to keep mississippi from getting too much money. the mandate of the state of louisiana, the state of mississippi is to get as much money from the federal government as they can. therein lies the deadlock. so as long as you got people with the structural problems still at one another, i am not convinced that you will break the deadlock. what is your objection to having all parties agree upon a
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procedure like, for example, several states have agreed upon to solve similar medicaid issues involving much more money. what is your objection, after both parties have a say, final say, as to what the procedure will be for getting the others to break this deadlock, considering that you are keeping $3 billion from the citizens of louisiana? and this is very little progress made in the six months since we discovered this outstanding -- most of it before you came in, but guess what, mr. fugate? it's going to be your $3 billion unless you can give us timetables and get this $3 billion moving through the system. and if we see hangups in the appeal system, then we are going to want to know why in the world can't appeals be settled. the problem is to get money to people on the ground, to get it on the ground now when the state
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needed more than ever because of a combination of the trina and the worst economy since the great depression. need to know what you are doing with the 3 billion, to break the structural impasse. >> as i said, madam chair, we are working within the tools i have and i am looking forward to the ability to bring in a panel to give final adjudication of those disputes -- >> would that be an independent panel that both parties agreed upon? >> yes, ma'am. >> thank you very much for trying to do the. i think you see the structural problem, and there is no way to argue that, we can ease up on louisiana, mississippi a little bit because after all we have been at this a longtime. there is no way for you to do that with any integrity and there is no way with any integrity for the governor of louisiana and mississippi to the greatest extent possible to pressure you for every dime they can get especially now they want even more dimes if they have
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solved that two years ago with the economy night is as bad as it is today. we are frustrated with the agency not seeing the structural defect. we're not asking you to do something for here and all time. but we are saying that we would like in 30 days to know what procedure you will be using with some kind of third party, with procedures, both parties have agreed to use. if any party can't use it and it is not on the table. with what set of actors, it is not as if we are asking fema to invent something the federal government has never done before. we are inpatient to other agencies with far more money have found ways to break impasse is rather than leave people without the money that congress has appropriated them, if i may so as so, years ago. years ago. it is unconscionable. within 30 days we would like to see what is the procedure, what
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is the name of the group or panel, when will it be operative, what are its benchmarks and a similarly what is the appeals procedure? what are the benchmarks for the appeals procedure as well? mike inpatient reflects the amount still outstanding. you have indeed moved us somewhat forward because at least you acknowledge that there is a structural problem we cannot even get the prior administration to acknowledge the structural problem. that's what sent the senator from louisiana to the president was okay, this is what you will do. you will set up an arbitration panel. because the next move she is going to give a certain number of days to set up the arbitration panel. so we have all got to work this out. weekend with the new administration, with everybody i think intelligently understanding what the problem is. would you give us some guidance
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-- first of all let me say i appreciate what you said, it is just the kind of breaking through a bureaucracy when you talked about what we are putting your staff to. people have to understand what the staff has to do in order to rate this impasse. it's got to say, as we look at the structure, which by the way the state may not have looked at in decades. we must ascertain how much of this is due to lack of repair and how much of this is due to the storm. i submit to you, administrator fugate, that is an impossible task. yes, ultimately it is a judgment. you can put everything you want to on the table, but to come up with a figure is to come up with a proxy, an imaginary figure, a
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figure that everyone can agree upon. not a figure with a basis in fact one would have to go back and do the kinds of knit, small calculations that ultimately nobody would have any confidence in. so when you say that you are bringing to the table a kind of different vision, that's what we are looking for for the agency to do as difficult as it is when you say look at the project. if you could just, you mentioned that in passing in one of your answers. if you could just say something further about that, it was very refreshing to hear because it means that when you hear, see a problem, you see it maybe structural. we said wait a minute, let's put fresh eyes on it. try it with a pilot project, but don't just keep going at it as if, if you keep doing the same
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thing the same way you are going to get a different response. would you just laid out a bit, the project notion versus the present notion, the one you are considering at least? >> absolutely, madam chair. and i think one of the challenges i ask is i am not really interested in getting money down to the state that i'm interested in what the project is. if you have a fire station that is destroyed by a disaster, the uninsured elements, which are eligible under the stafford act for replacer, what you're actually doing is you are rebuilding a fire station. the maintenance records which may have been destroyed in the original disaster and the fact that there is no fire station is what's going to drive a project. we're going to replace the fire station. if that is indeed what -- >> what you do about the fact that the state may have some responsibility, mr. fugate? >> madam chair, if that project is eligible the state has their responsibility as a grantee
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supporting that local government through that grants process. but we should not be adding to that burden on issues that do not get us back to the original project which was, if the station was a government function and is eligible for assistance and there are uninsured losses, then in this type of event we should be looking at what it will take to rebuild the fire station versus looking for things such as maintenance records which didn't exist because they were destroyed as part of the disaster. >> thank you. enough said. if you are moving in that direction, we would be very pleased. let me ask the ranking member before i go further if he has any further questions. >> i really don't, but i do want to reemphasize again, i think the president of the best person in the country, in the entire country for this job. and that is why, you know, i am
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so insistent on making sure we have a clear line of command and that the person who knows what he is doing is the right man at the right time who is the best in the country, when we get hit by another catastrophe we don't learn them that he does not have either the resources or the right chain of command. and there is confusion. because we do have the right person right now in the agency as i think it is very evident in the time that the american people have had an opportunity to meet him. >> thank you very much, mr. dias-balart. certainly we have seen disaster after disaster, and we are seeing evidence of that experience and response. let me ask you about the last war complex that all of us have to a certain extent. and that is some complaints that
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fema has overcompensated or is fighting the last war when it sees another disaster before it, and that is doing what you would expect it to do, kind of leaned forward, try not to have happen what happened last time. but we had testimony before the subcommittee, for example, i don't know if it was louisiana who was drowning in ice. we had indeed some word that florida had to ask the secretary of homeland security to stop sending aid that the state had not asked for. would you speak to us about overcompensation by fema? has it occurred and what would you intend to do about it while preparing, while leaning forward in the event of a disaster.
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>> madam chair, having been probably one of the folks that was very concerned about how we were going to approach the aftermath of katrina and in some cases i think some playing the role of local and state government, there is a danger there. yes, the federal government could do more and a lot of that. the problem is, if local and state governments are not full partners in doing everything they can before they requested federal assistance, and a large scale disaster there may not be enough if the only player in town is the federal government. behind me is a lot of that team. both local and federal government. and i think to avoid this overcompensation nature, you have to build a team that relies entrusts upon each other to work effectively as a team and not second-guess your question. if dave maxwell in art houses and this is what my governor in need and that is what i should be focused on. yes, i'm going to anticipate. yes, i'm going to plan a. i don't want to leave dave magallanes he is a request that i haven't thought about. but i should not be second
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guessing him and responding outside working with him as a teen. team members don't do that. team members work together. we are talking, we are working as a team, that you are not something each other. we may be anticipating, we may get ready to go to see something coming so that when that request comes in we are not delayed in getting that help. but a real team does not second-guess and go in blindly with another team member that should be -- >> and feel free to ask the department not to send until requested, a certain resources to the state, is that right? >> yes, ma'am. and that was some order stating that i was anti-federal. and the reaction was, i think, probably -- >> the taxpayers of the united states thank you. >> but i was looking at more pragmatically. states are going through very tough times to get the federal government is stepping up to the plate in every disasters and states are less and less inclined to fund those programs they are funding will further
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dilute art very complex disasters. people forget, most of the resources that actually responded to hurricane katrina were not federal resources. they were national guard and the local and state law enforcement, fire to carpets, paramedics and other responders across this nation. if we continue not to leverage the ability we won't have the resources the next time there is a disaster because we have built everything up on the federal government doing everything at such low levels that when states face of those hard budget choices it's easy to go, somebody else will take care of us, instead of taking the steps that many states do even in the face of very adverse budget to build and maintain their capability to respond to their citizens when our role supporting that but not something that primary responsibility for governors have and their states during disaster. we don't believe in the domino theory were each local government has to go before the next level kicks and. but we do believe we have to be 18 and that that team means
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everybody comes into the game so we play as a team, not to depend upon one part of government to make sure we can meet those needs when disaster strikes. >> i just have a few more questions for you. about every couple of months the national press, all over the united states, you see a story on what is called in the last most vulnerable victims of katrina. katrina, who are still in trailers. would you give us a status report on where these last, where we are placing these last victims we have before us, before you came into office, hud, fema. had testified a housing for each and every one of the victims of katrina. neither hud for fema had broken down who we were talking about, how close they were, whether they were disabled people, whether they were people waiting to build their homes, just who
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they were in the first place. so they have it all locked together by the press. how many are there? how many are left. your predecessor just or leaving office, promised this committee nobody would be put out in the street. but of course if you should notice is michael out to the committee does not object to that. we certainly are not saying that they should violate the stafford act and key people receiving federal funds in perpetuity, but we would like to wipe the slate clean of the last victims of katrina knowing that they are now someplace that is appropriate for them. >> right now there is approximately a little under 2400 families that are still in fema housing. we have been working aggressively -- >> otherwise known as traitors? >> some are trailers, some are mobile homes, but again, working to do casework. and we were working with the state of louisiana.
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we were able to enlist one of the other partners that they would ask to do this as part of the team to help in the transition. but i think that your point is well taken. there is an industry these programs. that fema program for shelter programs, they were designed to be long term. so we have to actually make sure that we are doing the casework to identify that the resources are matched up with the needs of those families, but we also have to bring conclusion to that process. i face is in florida, where again many of those challenges had they been worked one on one and in some cases, it literally took the final notice that there was no longer going to be federal assistance for people to make decision to move on versus those people that did not have that option and needed to be moved into other program to provide other solution. soap are doing the casework as there is in not one size fits all. it has to be based on where that family is. are they going to get back in their home or the with any other
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options? but there is a point where you have to have closure to what the options will be. at some point where people have said i refuse that assistance, then we have to be able to close that program. >> yes, because you don't have a light under the stafford act to be where you were before to be close to work, all that brings hardship, but not hardships to keep you on federal funding. forever. and understand from staff that you have submitted a breakdown. we will look at that breakdown to continue to work with you. this large question that i post for you, in light of your deep experience, we felt that we could pose this question to you about a catastrophe, or catastrophic disaster and i want to ask this question because
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with the stafford act that we have relied on since 1988. 20 years reliant on one statute, seem to almost encompass everything you can think of. whether or not in light of the experience after katrina, in light of the experience after 9/11, truly catastrophic even though it involved relatively less area and even fewer people when you consider katrina, but in light of that experience, you, administrator fugate, are a deep thinker in this area. we don't want to be caught with a notion that nobody knows what a catastrophe is. and maybe we do under the statute. we have no opinion at this point. but we really don't want people running to us and saying, see, we've got a whole lot of people too and let us count them for your. and so we need to get all of that extra help that you gave to
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louisiana, mississippi. and they will do it. you heard perhaps mr. loebsack -- rather, representative loebsack give us a whole new standard based on a budget of the city or for that matter the state. and that is going to happen when people see what, in fact, we had to do in katrina. we had to pass a post-katrina act. we even had to passr got througe which make me think we might be violating the stafford act to try to get some additional assistance to louisiana, mississippi. ultimately, i think that we did give them, and of course that happened through statute. we waived the state match, but the other parts of it that were
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in this act that didn't get past came as result of testimony from people from the area. and the testimony was given on the basis that we are talking about one time only katrina stuff, where you find that the residents or the state or the city cannot move, can't act because fema isn't sure what it is authorized to give in this kind of situation. so we want to ask you, should congress begin to look toward describing what a catastrophe is, i definition, some kind of definition for guidance. whether that is warranted. should we look toward the kinds of consequences and objective benchmarks that would guide all
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concerned? does the president need authority that would send from the top of the notion that this is an extraordinary event here katia given any thought to that, or do you think we should be giving thought to it at this time? >> madam chair, usually when i hear these discussions and having been in the long time, i think of two things. am i looking at cost you as to what that threshold shld be when they go to 100%? >> that would be only one thing. >> that would be one way to look at it. the other way to look at it, if you look at our system, we tend to ward -- we don't reward state to do more. our cost your starts at 25% for state and local, no less than 75% federal share, and we have the option to go to 100%. those authorities are vested under the stafford act. it is what triggers the next level. we use the word cap impact to go to 9010. hocrisy katrina was off the scale.
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but oftentimes we find out we don't look at it from the standpoint of not only the consequence about how much more is the state doing with their own money that is offsetting the cost to the federal government to get there only going to see their cost share go up when it reaches a certain per capita, or in a very tight, nero part of the disaster. so i'm looking at how we look at cost here, not only when it warrants because of the size of the disaster but how do you use it as a capability of encouraging state and local governments to do a better job of managing disasters. i got asked this question a long time ago by a very wise man who was one of the associate directors of fema and he asked me, is there anything for you could if fema reimbursed the state for it? and i said not much. so that is part one. the second part though is do we wish to have only one program to administer in a catastrophic disaster to take care of everything works in which case you need to expand the stafford act dramatically. or do we want to look at the
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existing federal programs that are already there such as community block development programs and look at how we build a system that takes greater advantage of existing structures, existing authorities, and make a better plan to integrate stafford act and other federal organizations, including in many cases usda from the programs they have in the rural state and rule parts of states so that rather than creating new structures and mechanisms in a disaster, we look at what we already have -- >> with this before, not the temporary assistance but for ongoing assistance. >> yes, ma'am. in many cases, let's take a few deep. most of what of what you see with enough programs are very short-term to buy us time. yet if there is not going to be housing at the end of the fema programs, we are unable to get out of a temporary program. so you need to recognize early in a disaster that the housing that will be available at the end of the fema program would not be sufficient to provide --
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>> so you would hand off responsibility, pass the temporary period to another federal agency to decide what role and what funds are appropriate, is that what you are advocating? >> yes. i would say that if you approach it from the standpoint you want the stafford act to try and be all of these things, that program needs to grow and you're going to create structures that usually will not be intimate until he disaster. >> do we need to consider this, mr. today, i suppose an administrator of fema could decide on his own and say at this point the agricultural department should be responsible for this. so how would you be responsible? do you think we need authority within fema so that they would be no doubt and there would be no bickering or exchanges about who really should now take over among agencies? >> madam chair me, before i commit to that fema would be the most logical place, i think you
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are correct in looking at in those programs that go beyond the stafford act, that go across a bright and federal agencies, should there be vested in a coordinating role in who would be best to do that. you know, you look at what we have been charged with any fema with a long term recovery component in doing those plans, one of the things i'm trying to drive is not only what does that look like, and i'd use a very simplistic definition to make my point, restore the tax base to what was or greater than with any 55 year period so we start driving a process that looks at not just trying to get somewhere by throwing all these programs and pieces together, but to find where going in such a way that local officials understand and can start looking at how we drive programs to reestablish a tactics. if we build a fire station under stafford act, there is no tax base to support the operation of the department, have we changed the outcome? so it goes back to, i cannot get there if i don't have a long term housing solutions, which is not what the stafford act does. i can't get there if we haven't been able to rebuild a job pays. and if we're in a transitional economy where the jobs that were
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there may not be the jobs that will be there in the recovery, i again have not change that outcome. a perfect example, what happened in florida city and homesick, we spend millions of dollars down there in recovery trying to rebuild an economy that truly did not recover until the building boom pushed down to that part of the county. many of those communities were not recovered with the air force base did not come back. that economy 10 years later had not made a significant recovery until the county growth got up with that infrastructure. >> yes. in light of this kind of futures look that we are giving, we are seeing stafford act and non-stafford act scenarios. of course, stafford act assumes a huge something called a disaster has occurred. but i give you, and this is why the president made an end to
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this, this occurred very early in the swine flu very early in the administration. now i don't know for the life of me to bureaucratically should be in charge and i know this much, they put the cdc is there because nobody wanted to hear from anybody else except somebody who has some expertise in the flu, that your scenario might well apply, logistics, who does what and so forth. that's one of the reasons we're looking at not only the stafford act, but for that matter homeland security act. remember, cdc comes under hhs. now technically, if it were stafford act matter, fema has a huge coordinating role. but when you get into subsections are for that matter whole cabinet agencies, that is when you get into should be stepping up to do something. ultimately of course, if you get enough confusion in the bureaucracy, you go up to the
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man in the white house and he will straighten it out. we like to have it somewhere, stafford act or not, depending upon going to your notion, function of what is happening here, who the public will have confidence in, then let others come into play, they are very often very critical supportive roles. but somebody needs to step up. and what happened with the swine flu episode, the white house had the good sense to say, you know, swine flu, we have no vaccine. we have potential panic. several agencies could be involved. to her credit, the secretary stood up and restored confidence because she was one of the few cabinet officers who had been appointed. but to show you how sang won the
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administration was, as it saw the matter was developing and realized that not withstanding the enormous credibility of the secretary, had to have someone understand about to stand up there and then they had to call upon because it was early in the ministration, still getting people through, they had to call upon a bush administration official, as i recall, from the cdc. he did a superb job. he was a professional. and therefore, he spoke in ways that people could understand. that is awfully important. and he spoke with the background and expertise. the secretary headed off to him and everything went smoothly. we would expect some sort of situation like that to develop, perhaps with some further guidance. we want to thank you very much, mr. fugate. we have put before you some of the ultimate questions facing us. we have been very pleased to hear how deeply you think about these matters. we think this requires very deep and new thinking.
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i suspect that when it comes to this cross agency coordination, we will probably have somebody look at it. beyond our particular agencies, and that is something we want to give it some thought to following this hearing here, what your thoughts might be on that notion about the presidential authority to say that lead agency, for example, shall be x. it might be even a point where the stafford act matter, you know, look what happened, look at what happened in katrina. to have anybody speak credibly, given how few resources were in place, the commander of the -- which is the service that did the rescuing? coast guard. had to stand up and speak out. and it may change at various
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points. we don't care who is in charge. we just care that everybody understands who is in charge, that there is no bickering about it, no duplication. and that we continue to move forward. i see that kind of clean thinking from you. appreciate your testimony. look forward to hearing from you again. thank you, mr. fugate. we want to call the next panel. . .
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>> under what administration? >> . >> team of staff under what administration? >> clinton did ministrations. madame chair ranking member my testimony based on my 22 year career at the federal emergency management agency culminates my chief of staff to the clinton administration and drawing on the past eight years at my work as communities and nonprofits with disaster management. throughout the 1990's we work
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with communities to respond in recover from over 300 presidential disasters. all the we had many cigna began disasters none were catastrophes the scope and level of damage could happen for example, more infrastructure damage from the northridge earthquake and hurricane katrina and more geographic impact from hurricane floyd and katrina. we build a strong partnership of state and local emergency managers and we had a federal response plan that was agreed to by each federal agency including dod and executed under the director and from the president down cutting red tape being innovative and not worry about the price tag. in that context, like to provide suggestions broke out in the immediate aftermath of any disaster what individuals
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and communities want the most is to get back to normal. this return to normalcy in the the opportunity to build better saver and more economically sound. furthermore this regulation on the part of a federal crime and program will reinforce returning an agency excuse me a community to the pre-disaster state. the government's best interest to have built a safer community but how we do this? first i suggest the president has the flexibility to request authority to waive certain regulations-- regulations in the aftermath of a disaster such as allowing for innovation of scope and cost of a community disaster program. the cbo is an essential lifeline for communities to continue the been mistreated and legal functions after a disaster. i would suggest other programs the assistance to individuals
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for household grants and the mitigation grant program it is obvious the states on how the funds of impacted. the public is most likely to embrace mitigation after the aftermath of a disaster to take advantage of a public willingness the federal government can provide incentive by a leading cause share in katrina this was not done and we all see the problems people and communities are having in doing elevations of housing. rapid recovery of the community infrastructure is critical to economic recovery the current public assistance program is cumbersome and bureaucratic after the northridge earthquake we had public infrastructure to jump-start recovery a similar approach to block grant approach the removes the issue to create existing conditions will be absolutely necessary after a catastrophic disaster. second in support of long-term
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recovery is scattered congress should request a federal road map as to what the federal government can do to help them recover. third, i would suggest establishing a pilot program that would allow certain high risk disaster communities to receive funding to create disaster recovery plans and strategies which will significantly enhance projects and hasten an economic recovery. the private sector is the keeper 22 break through the red tape to allow business greater access after a disaster to make 90 ipod priority and support small businesses and relocate disaster housing. the program shows promise but will it work? why not use disaster housing resources to foster rehabilitation? why not take advantage of success will not profits like a database of available housing units in realtime and
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perhaps fema could do an inventory of substandard housing before the disaster. finally i continue to be very concerned with the department of homeland security i firmly believe this organizational circumstance will not only not support security i support the obama administrative -- administrati ve to support the best staff and i know they will serve well but their presence doesn't negate the issues that remain within the dhs part of it is a lot worse agency with a federal top-down approach but fema works in partnership with state and local governments in the private sector to help individuals, institutions and communities become economically stronger through prepared now is an recovery these missions require capabilities and certainly a
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different mind-set proposed katrina emergency format was meant to strengthen the fema with resources and the mission however as already mentioned very shortly after passing fed dhs coordination office was created to duplicate the process. i would request that dhs explain how the office of court nation will function in a catastrophic disaster vs. of the operation center one other area of concern is there are numerous instances of the council overruling decisions made by the fema general counsel despite the ever made by experienced lawyers and based on the milan and disaster presidents since dhs is centralize the general counsel function there has been many concerns that should a catastrophic disaster occur interpretations of the law based on disaster president and in the ability of the stafford act will be overruled by lesson for lawyers
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consideration should allow the fema to have his or her own independent counsel we have discussed the issue of principle federal officials i don't think this is an issue that is close i still believe there is the intent to use the pfo as to the issue of hurricane katrina who was in charge. we want to reduce bureaucracy in response and recovery the answer is to remove the fema make it the independent agency reestablished a federal response plan, not everywhere can create a national recovery plan. hurricane katrina was a failure of leadership all levels but they could have my decision and take a certain actions to correct the problem but they could not because the approval process was that dhs will recognize the obama administration is very different from the previous administration and is
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committed to providing service to the public i am still concerned that very few things have changed and whether the process will work more slowly as long as fema has to answer to departmental and homeland security and as long as the fema the administrator is not in the peer to peer situation is could be extremely important when requesting resources from other agencies thank you for this opportunity i will be happy to answer any questions. >> thank you very much ms. bullock. francis mccarthy congressional research service a division resection of emergency management, mr. mccarthy? >> thank you madame chair did afternoon i appear before you today my work yes crs over the last three years in a previous 25 years as fema are in areas directly related to the issues we're discussing today. some fundamental issues arise
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and how to cut the red tape with federal assistance the first question with the respective roles of executive and legislative branch broke the both traditionally have played a key role the executive branch fema is the minister by the president with the stanford act. congress has offered to that statute and amended over the years also congress three annual and supplemental appropriations funded the fema recovery program and has provided funds through other departments and agencies to meet specific post disaster needs this has been ineffective and complementary partnership to address a complicated problem following a large disaster event that overwhelms sober days to several states. somebody suggested for catastrophic events fema could be provided their legislative authority to have slumped some payments and holocaust share
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waivers to speed up the recovery process. some will argue that while some are exercised by the president it might be more reliable approach to have the catastrophic trigger based on the amount of estimated damage. the threshold dollar amount for increased cost share and other procedures may be a critical part of this debate. current cost share threshold are clear but the standards are under pressure from states seeking a waiver as the chair has pointed out many states consider their disaster catastrophic at the time it is occurring so perhaps that would help to distinguish when we're in the realm of the catastrophic disaster. in this consideration with the threshold for expanded assistance has been reached a could trigger the notification to congress of the use of catastrophic authority similar to the procedures usually for emergency spending the notification could serve as a vehicle to engage the congress
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with funding requirements and suggested legislation that could remove the response along. as discussing the proposals in written testimony one question regarding block grants would be how to determine and ensure that the amount of block grant to meet the needs of the affected area? while assistance to families and individuals are capped there is no cap on the amount that may be spent for projects so while the block grant is appealing for speed and clarity, it would also likely be an amount asserted while the amount under 406 could change and a crew based on the replacement work one option may be to use the initial block grant as the incremental downpayments following the initial block grant to the process could be used to complete funding. all ideas are up from funding
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under calling this underline the need for quality assessments that can give a clear indication of the scope of the damage and discussion of the alternative approach the proposals assume such options would be under catastrophic disaster by investing these authorities beforehand it arguably would not look at the authorities legislated as the disaster and pulled providing such discretion leadership may only provide the possibility of action. let me briefly summarize some of the options that i have mentioned in my testimony. number one provide discretion to the presence within the stafford act to invoke authorities including block grant of funds to sam localities and provide a comprehensive recovery. number two, install a trigger increase was seven motion the more flexible assistance and also triggered notification to
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congress of potential needs and resources and authority is. number three place some of the stafford act program changes that would take effect for a catastrophic event including cost shares for specific programs such as needs assistance and mitigation assistance. clearly define fema role and other agencies and departments and the government and a long-term recovery planning. number pork direct fema to create a framework similar to a national response but with an emphasis on long term recovery needs. could have alternative housing scenarios when residents are displaced and redefined the fema displays hud relationship brother authorities that should be triggered by the catastrophic events such as the block grant program the administrator mentioned. continue to have congress critical legislative recovery package to address the unique needs with catastrophic events
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and finally consider establishing a reporting for work so all those faster spending including but not limited to the disaster relief fund is captured and summarize for congressional review particularly for catastrophic events. i appreciate the opportunity to appear today and welcome any questions you might have. >> thank you mr. mccarthy. dr. moss from the professor of urban planning in new york university. >> thank you madame chair i also would like to go back to the questions you posed of the outset of the hearing to we conceptualize what a catastrophe is and whether we have defined it to nearly and how we can rethink it an alibi to address some of their remarks i have heard that earlier this afternoon from the administrator of fema. first, the kinds of disasters
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that have been the basis of the stafford act were natural disasters and the history of disaster relief in this country is focused on the capacities of the federal government to assist to provide supplemental assistance to states and localities but the country faces a different risk than those what it was first signed in 1988 which appear remember was to decorate globalization has changed the way we do with other countries in defense way financial collapse in asia could disrupt our own financial markets and problems in the harvesting of crops in china could impose enormous consequences on mugabe each in america and we have seen that with our pharmaceuticals are dependent on food flowing from other places one-third of all apple juice products in this country come from china. we have to be aware that we are no longer ruutu in the
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local environment but they can come from other places. we did not learn this list year it -- of this year with this wind blew we will never learned advancements in technology has made us more dependent and we heard this from episodes we're more dependent on advanced computer systems thereby increasing vulnerability with breakdown in the energy system transportation infrastructure and communications system by one to point* out a power failure occurred due to launch three and a high which interrupted the power supply outside of the band so the failure to maintain power system all-out to problems in the entire northeast. more and more of our public life is a round of global systems a small breakdown of one component could have serious and widespread consequences on the nation and this is a disagreement from
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the speaker from fema you only talked with in the context of the communities and he quoted, while the impact of catastrophes will be felt that the federal and state level the impacts are most interested at the community level and he said the catastrophic response must we designed to support time recovery to self-sufficiency and it's a terrific point* of view but it may not be appropriate for the 20% three. it and you may remember the key challenge is to return to normalcy. i want to point* out this is one of the greatest disaster recoveries there is no return to normalcy we have learned from johnstown with the flooding, as of timber 11, hurricane katrina there is no return to normal it is a new normal but not the old normal the people that live in communities can tell you it is different in this part of the
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community and it is different so the goal of returning to normalcy is one that is desirable but unrealistic fell of the point* out something with two other comments we need to recognize the changing skill of catastrophe we have a lot of experience with natural disaster but disrupted community city county but we must consider the way the catastrophic allows us to function the federal government must go far beyond supplemental assistance and simply returning to normalcy. we have to recognize the possibility that a catastrophic disaster require much more than the federal government bringing a community back to where it was before hand. one final point* a great deal of attention has been paid to housing and i do believe the problems remain with us but after a disaster, it is far more important than housing because of there is not adequate water for sewage, drinking it does not matter how many good housing
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units you have it goes with communication so the focus on hud is exaggerated when based on the katrina experience but not necessarily a pro but when you look at the way disasters can disrupt the fundamental ever structure of a community. thank you very much. >> thank you very much a dr. moss. adjoint general mr. dunbar. >> distinguished members of the subcommittee thank you for your opportunity to testify today with catastrophic planning and disaster preparedness. as the add john too general for the state of wisconsin i am a commanding general for the army and guard with responsibility for federal and state commissions i am a security adviser, a chair to the homeland security council and have responsibility for emergency mount management i
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appear in uniform and a federally recognized officer by pierre as a state official not on military orders in representing the state of wisconsin with the national governors association of like to thank it at the emergency management committees i work with the first responder an emergency management committees and know your support continues to improve our overall readiness. my testimony will briefly touch on three areas critical to enhancing their preparedness first, the federal-state partnership to clarify the role of the military, never to comment prepared this guidelines, and number three target reinvestments to achieving and sustaining cap of -- capabilities since becoming the adjutant general we have had a federal disaster declaration i am proud of our first responders to wonder card conditions of the people very well their heroes
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committed to something larger than themselves program prod record the wisconsin national guard was able to assist in the emergency. the national guard is not a first responder but it is a first military responder for emergencies that exceed the capacity and require state support. in keeping with the national and state guidelines when the national guard is called to support civil authorities we respond to the emergency management framework and sit support the commander several times the department of defense has attempted to amend existing law of forces in support of domestic emergencies and each time the defense authorization and deliberation and the nation governor and the adjutant general has proposed the legislative change in is centered on military force when responding to an emergency under governor control. the national governors association of united states believes control should remain under the governor and support
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the lieutenant commander additional kirk until the emergency is so severe the government dazed federal government must take control it does exist but has to be very severe. we believe this is a necessity to ensure unity of effort. second touring to the federal preparedness guidelines i can share that wisconsin is critical indicting the prepared now is planning. we updated our homeland security strategy for a collaborative venture agency ever. it is our vision to foster a culture prepared this and improve capabilities to ensure resiliency at every level of an emergency. resiliency of families and communities to successfully cope with and recover from the emergency whether natural or man-made the strategy specified non priorities with some of goals which we apply the analytical three more. our strategy based on the federal guidelines will guide the investment of state
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appropriations and federal grant allocations that will allow wisconsin to measure improvement and prioritize the investment justification and what is sure to be a continuing difficult environment. last wisconsin is developing metrics to measure our progress for this we rely of about a government to define and articulate the capabilities to define the analytics it is our belief additional capabilities bella dr. gupta local and state level will have the state prepared ms. anna identify gaps and capability as needed that will require regional and federal assistance. the department of all land security has signaled future grantor words may consider existing capabilities and based planning and the justification. if so this may significantly increase prepared mezzo it is understood and executed consistently. they must focus on capabilities but allow for
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full development. too often guidance has changed from year-to-year to develop capability foley bank you again for this opportunity i look forward to your question. >> . >> thank you very much general dunbar and thank you for your service as well. david maxwell vice president national emergency management association's been i think to the distinguished members of the subcommittee for inviting me to appear before you i am the director of a homeland security adviser with the arkansas department of emergency management time to test based testifying on the emergency management association and bed definition of catastrophic disaster is what we have been discussing since 2005 with hurricane katrina. the challenge was what constitutes a catastrophic
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disaster in one state your community may not be catastrophic in another there is no question katrina was a catastrophic disaster for those communities similarly should an earthquake occur on the polls on it would be catastrophic for an entire region or the nation these events are of such a scale and complexity they require additional response and recovery efforts and we have seen in the past. the stafford act was written broadly to allow presidential discretion and flexibility. nema believes unnecessarily strict interpretations of law or more problematic than the law itself. the policies and regulations are overly restrictive and do not reflective the intent of the stafford act and the personnel in the field are inconsistent between states and regions as the personnel changes previous decisions frequently over time fema process takes months or years
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these are due to subjective interpretations of the stafford act which and accosting state and local governments precious time and resources were community restoration the opinion of the auditors over intended discretion and flexibility that congress provided. all of these issues serve to create a federal bureaucracy that can paralyze large-scale disaster response and recovery. nema established a working group to look at the stafford actor rather issues can be addressed through regulation or policy work has just begun so i'm not in a position to sell shares pacific recommendations it we committed to sharing your work with you in the near future i am confident in saying that nema strongly believes the federal government is not fully utilizing the power of the stafford act and in the words of one of my colleagues if it is legal or moral or ethical and the right thing to do to help disaster
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victims, we should do it. arkansas is from the fema catastrophic planning initiative as we prepare for the new magic earthquake that challenge in planning there is little experience to draw from with regard to a new master it earthquake in arkansas we think we know how the roads and bridges and in the structure will perform but we are not 100% certain so plans have to remain flexible so despite the limitations we would encourage congress to support and fund of catastrophic planning initiative the national level exercise will be focused on a new maghreb earthquake and will be the first natural disaster scenario in the history of the national level exercise nema is extreme supportive of the new leadership at fema led by administrator ms. holmes norton is led by experienced
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emergency managers to have the vision for a world-class emergency management system now is the time to redefine the outcome we want him large-scale disaster response and recovery to align legislation and policy to support the outcome we also must do a better job of leveraging all resources available with catastrophic disaster response and recovery including the public and private sector government cannot be solely responsible for recovery nor should it be and in most situations government does a good job at disaster response but the current approach to long-term disaster recovery is at hawk at best. route each disaster is to make it would be extremely beneficial for officials to know in advance the type of assistance that could be available for long-term recovery in addition having a federal counterpart to help them leverage the various federal programs would be helpful this is the ideal role
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for fema nema would recommend a full strike based spectrum response capability and i have included several suggestions in written testimony. the main point* is we need not be confined to outdated systems to disaster response particularly for large scale events' we should define the outcome that we want and build and the resource system that supports that outcome build a team that can manage the event and provide leaders with the discretion and flexibility to ensure a successful outcome. thank you for the opportunity to prevent testimony before the subcommittee and thank you for your strong support for emergency management. >> thank you mr. maxwell. mr. decker from international association of emergency
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managers i am from allen county ohio currently the president of the u.s. council the international association of emergency managers, 19 years of emergency mannesmann experience, the last 11 as a local director. our membership of 4,000 state tribal college that private and non-profit sector members makes us the largest association of emergency management professionals from the basic question asked was what needs to be done to reduce bureaucracy and insure rapid response to catastrophe? looking accurate authorities suggest necessary changes to the response and recovery ever to a disaster defining a catastrophe by a numerical trade year is to recall and in a larger than the rapid mobilization of federal assets is imperative but the same resources must respect the civilian chain of command from
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which they are mobilize given the difficulty to define a catastrophe we believe caution is in order in considering modification to law, a policy of authority. we would urge caution to make statutory changes that changes the role of the federal government including the military at the expense of the responsibility of state and local government even some would describe a catastrophic event. we consistently stress the key to effective management of any major event as a rebuilding of the essential emergency management system within the united states. this must include the restoration of resources, personnel and authority of the emergency management agency's at all levels of government. without such a collaborative board needed and comprehensive system we would not have the ability to act decisively and without sufficient flexibility to deal with a crisis. the stronger and set date at
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local programs are the less assistance we will need from the federal government. we ask the current fema administration has the authority to doing its job and the upcoming fema regional cleamons consider it experienced candidate for the jobs. what is needed most in any disaster especially in a catastrophic event is flexibility of action and the speed with decision-making we do not need duplication of responsibilities and confusion over the chain of command. the activities of the office of operation incoordination currently need to be examined with the duplicated functions rivalry performed by the matt -- fema as opposed to the hurricane katrina post of emergency reform act and we're opposed to a principal federal official and strongly support and applaud the prohibition included buy that house in the
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fy 2010 appropriations bill berkeley recommended this committee task fema to look at the study of the work force to make sure they have the necessary human capital to perform there assigned responsibilities. and fema should take an immediate review of policies and procedures to eliminate any bureaucratic hurdle after that there should be a discussion of what additional legislative authority may be needed. the changes are needed recommend they be placed within the existing stafford act to maintain vital continuity of the existing efforts. some possible legislative suggestions would allow a change from the statutory 25% cost her for the individual assistance program grenades other than housing or the hazard mitigation grant program and increasing the five million-dollar cap on the committee disaster loan program on the policy front the public assistance program is too cumbersome.
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having checkers checking checkers over and over and having officials say if passed to be redone is frustrating to the numbers perhaps fema used to take a look at estimating and providing block grants proposed areas need to be treated differently than they are now and the dallas texas advisor arab advise me dallas and others have not received full reimbursement to host other committees for hurricane gustav and hurricane ike that may be impacted by the lack of timely reimbursement. wheat at a joint administrator at ms. holmes norton to look at prepared as we went to great nation of survivors but not victims' looking at the recovery of small businesses is looking at the committee they need to plan a figure for this opportunity and we look toward your questions.
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>> thank you mr. decker. finally senior vice president of disaster services with the american red cross, joseph backer. >> thank you for holding this hearing and i appreciate you inviting our participation in. there has been a lot of discussion about the 70 of the next catastrophic event it may be helpful to quantify the need from what we have the match and can have been. not including man-made events but just with the earthquake and hurricane scenario we know scenarios that would be four times the size of katrina, of five times the size and possibly larger. that is based on the human need that earthquake and hurricane scenarios would present us clearly of the country we are not ready pour scales of this size of an event.
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we had a lot of a conversation of the range of issues i like to confine my issues to what the panel has not discussed a look at the housing and human services side. we care for people, feed and shelter people i will confine my comments to those areas. discussing particularly the long-range were recovery house saying issues not the immediate shelter although that is what we focus on early. in conversation of quantifying for coming up with a definition of a catastrophe, i would suggest for a practitioner who works with government but is not part of government a scale of the disaster increase you later on more and clear more rose an increase supply chain of a certain magnitude a catastrophe is a disaster were more of the same does not give you were you need to go it is
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a disaster were the scale is such the normal business methods will work. that is what we have experienced a couple times when we have seen and learned from. starting with housing we all know the scenario. and you have people that leave the affected area and have no hot options for housing in the affected area so they evacuate and they cannot come home. they cannot come back to their jobs or their communities they become a residents of other areas for much longer than anyone has imagine. what is the answer to that? i would suggest to the subcommittee there is no one answer we need the infrastructure obviously utilities and then we need a range of housing options within the affected area not just more mobile homes. i guess the addition of hot-- hud housing has helped
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the additional use of rental systems has been very helpful but if you do the math the sum of all the options we have been our tool kit today is not big enough. no one option is the answer it is to maximize each of the options to develop new options and great work is being done in state and local government to this regard. maximizing options, develop new options and housing is not something that fema does. housing decisions are best made locally from that range of options that is developed with and by fema we need to research work, prototypes, contracts let and we need to let state and local government with the housing task force work with fema task force to arrive at the resolution and the urban solution where land is scarce is different from the rural
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solution per distance matters greatly per car would suggest the national disaster housing task force that is the focal point* of this work needs your support and needs to be energized and move more quickly. also i think we heard the administrator speak to this, we are not constructing a response community been dealing with the exceptions meanings the frail elderly your children or people with disabilities or medical needs or pets. those are most of the people we are dealing with in a lot of these disasters they are not the exception to the model they are the model we are building and that work needs to continue. last with housing, we focus a lot on the buildings are the utilities in place and the structures in place and we don't recognize when we move people hundreds of miles from what used to be home the social services have not
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followed. and government service has not necessarily follow the medical care, day-care, an elder care the wide range of needs creates a disaster when we relocate distances are exacerbated so we have to bring the services to the people and that is where integrated case management really matters and we have great case management pilates being done by a variety of private agencies believe not have the integrated solution yet that is needed per gram not here to give a laundry list of what fema needs to do. this is what the country needs to do, but the federal agencies, nonprofit, for-profi t, state in local and tribal governments and need to do i ask you to support this approach and i thank you for your hearing today to make that happen. >> thank you very much mr. becker.
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just to name the rather framework of questions we may ask, i think the general public would be amazed to learn that you discuss mr. dunbar in your testimony and you may have eluded that the scenario of focusing on a man-made event by engaging in a realtime exercises involving a natural disaster will occur. perhaps some of you who have been in the emergency management or also at the
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table mr. maxwell or others can make us understand how after decades of the fema coming decades beyond that of natural disaster, and only after 9/11 did it occur to anybody the natural disasters were far from a realtime exercise? why did this not occur before? we think this will help us to understand whether or not any changes needed since we certainly don't think that fema or the federal government lacks the ability to do some national level exercise they say you may have authority to do such an exercise like a
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tornado or other hazards why in your judgment are we seven years after 9/11? if this is in our face and as clear as the nose on your face after 9/11 we had such exercises should be done to prevent terrorist attacks? why given the scale of disaster even before katrina was this not done, in your view? mr. maxwell or any of you. >> madame chair i will take a stab at it. i think part of this, the national level exercise series developed out of the series that was done the top
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officials that it involves cabinet level officials a national level exercise. for a long time, the states and regions have practiced natural disasters on their own and to some degree with the federal government does well. >> perhaps the terrorist attack is not like it is involved two incinerate the united states but yet we have national exercises. >> i think to some degree we were playing catch-up on not having practiced the terrorist you been to. so we went through several scenarios on that now we're getting back to the need to do those high-level officials
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exercises with the natural disasters as well. >> it makes one question whether, you agreed, it was not lack of authority? >> no, ma'am. >> and i think it is you mr. decker that cautions the notion that a statutory changes might be necessary. we did look at the statute and congress always right statutes very broadly if you want to write something broad do not nitpicking give the agency what it needs to proceed. if you look at the stafford act and use the broad mandate as you will find anywhere.
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over and over again fema says we don't think we have the authority to xyz and exasperated the patience of the people on the ground are you suggesting, a mr. decker, that changes may not be necessary to cope with a troop catastrophic disaster given what you have seen or how you saw an fema is especially when somehow you seem to relay this authority "at the expense of the authority and responsibility of state and local government even been and what some would describe as catastrophic events" end quote. we certainly are suggesting if anything that our role is supplemental and we needed to be supplemental matter what you call it but you can call it a supplemental all you want when it comes to hurricane katrina but we put forth $4 billion we're not about to
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authorize anybody do anything with a disaster we have seen before. so we're left with the agency trying to figure out how to resolve disputes between the two agencies, federal and local precisely because we never put anything in the statute to say what to do so they set there with their thumb in their mouth although under this president -- president administrator is making progress but people on the ground or literally tearing their hair out. now let's assume that off the table is moving out what state and local government would be doing, mr. decker. remember admistrator fugate
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testified he told the administrator recently route he was on the ground, stop sending stuff to us that we don't need. he had the backbone to stand up and say don't do that you are being wasteful but we saw fema pour ice on the second hurricane with people laughing at the agency all over the place with by teeing bellcore with too much i pace so assume we're not trying to do anything at the expense of local or national government and still regard the role as supplemental even in a catastrophic disaster except for, you tell me what, would you or any of you believe that
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clarification of statutory authority is necessary or given the broad language of the statute should fema hunker down and do with the statute says and it will take care of itself understanding you have on the ground experience from which to draw from now. >> madam chairman i will take that. i think what our members were trying to stress is we have used the federal role as supplemental and we want to make sure the locals and the state to not lose that command and control. >> how does that have been? do you really think we're taking to throw money it as states or localities? >> our concern earlier that was discussed if you leave it under stafford i think if there are changes they need to be within stafford because as long as it is a stafford act the event and we have the fcc
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of zero coordinating and not one during which it is then new-line the locals are much more likely to accept that because that is a system we are thinking it is broad enough but if it is given just another 302 do his or her job. >> if there was a huge catastrophe that struck los angeles are you confident we could categorize it as a disaster as katrina like catastrophic disaster are you confident that have been in a timely fashion? we have not seen anything like that in our lifetime on the west coast which everybody says is coming. >> that is the finding the catastrophe will be the toughest part because what is
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catastrophic if you take out the entire state of ohio it is catastrophic to us but the impact on the rest of the country it will define it. >> hugh thank you can take out the state of ohio? >> by governor would not like that but the definition has to be what is a major impact on the nation not just one state or region or communities. >> i just want to point* out legislative mandate already and mr. mccarthy pointed this out but it is to create a national recovery primark and i think fema has done this with a planning framework but not the recovery. >> you think there needs to be a recovery framework? >> i think it exists to require that it has not been done. that has already been mandated you may want to direct them to
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do it. >> if that happens, then what? >> start thinking about the recovery process that we heard about flexibility, speed, the fact. >> that would help define the? >> there was an issue raised here from the red cross housing, social services but understanding what is involved with recovery has spent one of the many flaws. >> by number? >> by the elements what does it take? one thing we have heard in the discussion about day's discussion roughhousing, the problems you have when you decide to move people more than 100 miles from their location things get much worse for recovery and asking fema to carry them how to what your authority ask them to do would be a good start. >> [inaudible]
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the beauty of the stafford act through my experience at the met is it does give the agency the latitude to think outside the box to come up with innovative programs we can talk about innovations that we engage stand with stafford at some later point* there is not necessarily a need to increase the authority and stafford i think the problem exist and what admistrator fugate said narrow interpretation of regulation on the part of the agency and they will work on that that is something congress should look at very carefully. >> and arrow regulations? >> and their interpretation of those regulations. >> i wanted to question you on that in particular. it is a judgment call and i will tell you how federal officials operate. they are afraid with good reason of the gao, our
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committees and it is the cover you're but notion. it takes a very intense and strong administrator and i have to tell you member of all land security member i think what we have seen with federal bureaucrats does not give the comfort to believe that regardless of the bureaucrat, the person will understand, go ahead. even looking at the president, somebody has to signal that it is all right so when the fingers began 2., responsibility, we know where it delays. when admistrator fugate is said do not send anything
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else, if more was needed he would have to step up and say i asked the secretary not to send more resources at a time when i did not think there were necessary even if it turned out he was wrong we do have to be wrong sometimes but in light of the exisiting experience, even after hurricane katrina, we passed the post katrina act the federal bureaucrats was on display every time we had a hearing no matter what the mandate it makes us tremble a little bit to say who will call the shots? for example, did you speak about a waiver? sometimes we give the
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president authority to do things and then report to congress. dr. moss cites the brick example incident of national and a significance that somehow the have the way to dhs what do they have to do with it? nobody had experience only fema did but it is generally understood this national significance had to be the you have to do that first war as before from the fema used all of the expertise and said fema was out like lightning. we have gotten rid of this incident of national significance we do not have confidence that we will see
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the kind of instant action of a catastrophe something that admistrator fugate has talked about a war with ohio is ohio or like louisiana? somebody has to make the call. so does the statute have to say who should make the call? war is there plenty already all you need is some backbone which you are guaranteed to have on who should make the call? we have to make a judgment one way or the other. >> i would argue the statute provides the authority by think madame chair from you are exactly right it comes down to leadership from the top of it comes through dhs it needs to stay there was if we
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are naive to think secretary napolitano and dhs will not want to play a major role in that disaster we're being naive if we do not look at that way. they're poor it may have to be made stronger to clearly say that the fema administrator is in charge maybe it is the ps of if congress does not put somebody in charge of recovery it will never be organized because the agency during the 1993 is to bring the agencies together after a major disaster like northridge any disaster and said the matter room and come up with the ad hoc reports that would talk about what each federal agency will do to support the community in the aftermath of the disaster we did that because the president wanted fema it to take that coordinating role. that is not statute anywhere. it is not stafford.
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that is something especially in the aftermath of a major catastrophe somebody has to give the authority . . >> fooling around the lead agency of fema, you're not going to tell secretary of xyz what to do. that presents problems. that's why we are looking to see how far should we go? mindful of what mr. becker said,
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we are very reluctant to broaden or full it in. we don't want to be sitting here and nobody jumps up and acts line he knows what he's talking about. for that matter, dunbar complicated some matters for us, but rightly so. because you point out -- you point out that if you -- now if we are dealing with the national guard, that's already under the governor. you point out that the defense department wanted authority to call up the reserve forces on the circumstances to assist. i don't know what you do, but let's go down your scenario. i guess if we enact a statute, we enact a statute. because you are concerned in something parallel to our pfo or
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cfo, whatever the officers are, you are concerned with the establishment of dual chains of command creating -- being created by having the armed forces end there. but of course we have a separation of powers of government. and it's kind of awkward to think about putting the reserve forces under a governor or if they are president could this occur, should it occur, how should it be done if we need the reserves? remember we mind not get there. we can call in national guard all over the country. they are trained better than the reserves. these reserves are law enforcement type. they don't have authority that anybody would need to do
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something stat tourly. >> yes, ma'am, i do. i think the best place to start is probably comply with the law from fy09 which mandated a council of governors to tackle this issue when congress issues their rejection of the request, they suggest that we do this by forming the council of concerners and working to resolve it. i think from a documental point of view, it could be accomplished. north come with their relations of conda and mexico, it is possible that we put those forces under a canadian commander. it's possible that they would put the forces they send to the united states to the u.s. commander. it doesn't mean you've ginn up
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all authority. you could always recall those forces and higher levels of control continue to exist. you mention the national guard. when we deploy national guard forces to other states, which is a similar parallel. i've done this from wisconsin to north dakota. they come state assets for the states to which we deploy them. i certainly reserve the right to recall them if needed. i think from the entity of command, and the point of view, the best thing to do unless and until the federal government needs to take command for the emergency being so drastic and severe. the best thing is to stick with
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state and local. lower level up. from that perspective we probably wouldn't be talking lots of federal troops. we'd be talking about a company of engineers or a small capability that would fit into our joint force headquarters in wisconsin or another state, and we would provide those sources lined up under the stafford act. >> i'm going to ask staff and any of you to look at what happens at the inning inauguration. the state to state does not present a separation of powers. we go across state lines all the time. but the armed forces is under the commander and chief. that constitutional barrier is there's certain things you can't wave. >> yes, ma'am. >> during the inauguration, and
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here i may not have all the facts, but since i represent the district, i was concerned that inauguration was so big this time that there was at first a notion that the reserves should be under some dual command. we were able to -- apparently it is always been under the d.c. national guard, the commander of the d.c. national guard. and there was some kind of swearing in. i'm not sure what it was. but there was some kind of swearing in and everybody else that came in so they were sworn in at the national guard or it occurred even though these were national guard. the d.c. national guard is a little different. because we're not a state. and therefore -- but these --
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these were reserve people. they were on the ground at the inauguration. and my recollection is that although the d.c. national guard is technically under the president that the commander of d.c. national guard swore in these people as something other than reserve troops for purposes here that may suggest that parallel there to avoid any constitutional issue arising. because i do think that if we are truly preparing for the national guard, we better assume -- assume -- that you will need to go beyond the national guard. and national guard is best trained to do this. no question about it. the country and a whole lot of guards is not that i think that we would need more troops. i agree with you.
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but what we may need is specialized training. of a time, for example, of anyone has seen this movie that i saw over the weekend called "lost blocker" -- >> "hurt locker"? >> "hurt locker." it is the movie so far. and it's about a whole lot more than the kinds of capabilities that our bomb deconfusers have. these people are setting off bombs designed to blow up entire cities and all the people with them. i could see a situation where you would some of these d.o.d. guys to -- what does the general ask, how many bombs have you
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said -- did you say 42 -- those kinds of guys to help you with the massive explosives. you might say you need a little more than the very important and now upgraded capability of even the best of our bomb folks here in the country. so, yes, we are, we want to look and we want to continue to receive your views on this as well. >> and, can i just -- >> please do. >> i'd like for the record state that the reserves are in my opinion the national guard commander, just as professionally trained as the national guard and do a phenomenal job for the country. you're right about that the distinction. you mentioned dual-hot command -- >> the what? >> dual-hat command.
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you president and the governor can agree on one national guard officer who would be given a title 10 command authority at the same time. that would allow in efft both those chains of command to and at the same commander in the state response and would avoid the separation of powers that you're talking about. and it would allow us to function under the governor's control through the coordinating officer. if that was what was doing on. that part of the law exists and it was designed for the outcome. >> have you looked at this serious problem. this is the problem we have yet to confront that it may be right up line. because we know how to deal with, you know, in the beginning finally to deal with mass transit and the rest except in the particularly concerned with underground. we think to at least this extent
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would train. so the next disaster is if terrorists are to prove their presence as they have, may not be like anything we have seen before. and it may -- it would be so serious as to make us look first and foremost the the people with experience and that kind of line of work. center you done any of the work -- have you done any of the work and all the work you've done is? >> i'm mostly concentrating on the act recovery programs. i could refer some of their work. >> we would be most pleased to receive that. that is a -- this is truly unmarked territory. finally, you have spoken about, mr. becker, housing in
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particular which has been to the -- really we have had such concerns. although i think dr. moss says there are other areas of greater importance if you think about the disaster itself. the fact is that in in county we always focus on the person. so, you know, if they -- if they have 10 people in trailers, those are the people. the press will focus on, and frankly the average american is focusing on, even if your computer stuff is out. they want to know what you're doing to this family or this disabled person or person who cannot sign housing. the administration after treaty after treaty from this commission out of this committee
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did issue a disaster plan. this was the evening on the last business day of the last administration. and in light of your concern with housing, do you believe that this plan is adequate for addressing the needs of a catastrophe or that matter of a disaster? >> i would suggest that the details of the plan empower a task force to solve what hasn't been solved so far. and by that i mean i don't think you're going to see specifics of a plan that would satisfy an county emergency manager or state emergency manager to understand the framework and understand how it needs to proceed. what we need to do is -- if the administrator wants to continue with the disaster housing task force, the plan calls for that needs to be said. it's yet to have a permanent head, and it's been in existence
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over a year. it needs to be supported and a multiagency resource body. it needs to have state, local, and triable representation although the red cross is on it. but from that the most important body of work can to create a menu of options. it's not any one options that's going to be the bullet. we need a menu of options. we have done some great work to look at what the urban housing needs would be in the catastrophe hitting new york city. that's were different than trailers on lots. you need to have menus of options for him and for arkansas that might be very different from that. and so this work is moving too slowly. and this task force needs to be resourced and headed by a permanent member or leader, and it needs to get moving.
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>> yes, when i asked mr. mccarthy, who's been working on these areas, when we got the housing plan it looked like a plan, and we were expecting a plan. and the differences we were talking about are not even approached. i don't know where it is, but it is very scary given the issue that perhaps received the highest disability and recovery in louisiana and mississippi with housing to think we still don't have a man. mr. mccarthy? >> i want to mention that what mr. becker is say sergeant correct. at this point we need a plan for a plan. it's my understanding that they are working on a concept of operations of applying the plan. >> applying what plan, sir? >> the disaster housing plan to start having specifics. >> to make it into a plan. >> yes. one other point i want to point out though, the act did quite a
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few good things. i think one of the best thing it did was authorize case management. and it had a few other things that took the caps away from within housing where you can spend the amount you needed to on repairing your home in the overall time. the one thing it wasn't was retroactive to the population affected by katrina. >> why wasn't it? and should it have been? >> well, i can't speak to why. >> well, you only know after the fact. >> yup. >> after the fact, wave the state match. we never would have done that before the fact. on the other hand, who is it that suggested among you -- maybe it was mr. fugate, that some kind of reward incentive for mitigation.
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when i think of the way we had done mitigation, this whole committee and subcommittee are a huge fan. we put tiny resources into it. i know that's going to be any more. we were doing that long before the little resources long before. i don't know if states wait for mitigation resources. that is really waiting for the dough. if you've indicated some kind of reward or incentive system. i don't know if you looked at that. bullock has looked at it. >> you have done some of that. the disaster mitigation act of 2000, one of the things it did was provide fema with the authority to do cost estimates and pay on that. which hasn't been implemented yet. and the other main thing -- >> because we're not. we're just trying to help people p recover from the disaster.
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so that if somehow, was it in the earthquake, mr. bullock that there was criticism because the rebuilding took into account there might be another earthquake? >> yes, actually it was a fema i.g.. it was internal criticism. what we did there and certainly after a coo stroke disaster. building codes are only for a life safety protection. in other words, that way the building won't fall down. what we did is we worked with the hospitals specifically the u scla. so if there was another earthquake, those building would not collapse, they would be able to be fully functional. and obviously, hospitals are
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things you need absolutely critical of any disaster, but particularly an earthquake. it's those kinds of innovations that we took and ran with. and what we have talking about with mitigation, unfortunately state and local governments are so strapped post disaster that they cannot meet that match. it's the last priority. when it should be the first. because we have all shorts of evidence that shows when we do mitigation, for every $1 invested the federal government saves $4 in the future costs. the flooding in iowa, i would bet the bioprogram that fema participated in after the '93 and in '95 probably kept so many of his homes and his constituents homes from being flooded. we have to make an emphasis on mitigation.
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it's unfortunate. >> now fema approves of the rebuilding -- reinforcement building i take it. >> yes. >> you see what this does -- the reason -- this is very interesting. the early '90s everybody was afraid of earthquakes in the california. was the i.g. looking at cost? >> they were looking at costs and regulations and perhaps we exceeded our application of our own regulations. that was really the issue. the problem is that if we don't take those steps now we're going to keep putting money out over and over again. i think this is a serious issue. because there is a lot of strain on the fall right now. there's been a lot of geological work done. we might be looking at an earthquake. california is way ahead of the
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country in lieu of applying building codes. but there's still going to be huge problems. >> i would like to think that nobody would criticize people today for reinforcing houses. >> the criticism didn't come from the congress. the issue is it all coming down to money. i mean the fact that -- >> fema you said had approved. >> yeah, but the fact is they didn't weigh the cost share of katrina when those homes would have been rebuilt in a much better way. fema never asked. >> now asked. this is very important. fema would protect itself by coming to the congress and we take the wrap. i can think of no instance where fema asked us for congressional authority or authority even from the committee which we then would have had council
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investigate and say that there is no instance when they asked for it. i don't know what the bureaucrats are asking for, if that doesn't protect them, what else could? let me finally ask you given what mr. becker has seen, what certainly those of you in the emergency management have seen, whether or not -- where you would stand give your studies of implementing public assistance on the bases of estimates whether that could speed recovery? would fema act more quickly? whether that would be viable in terms of the i.g. and all of that stuff is that important to keep in place? >> i think that would be very helpful. the authority was passed in 2000. they had a panel in 2002 and set you have industry standards for
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estimates. but nothing further occurred. and that authority was partly meant to accelerate the process. >> so here i'm putting it before you. you are pointing out very specific authority that we gave. >> i just want to express one concern with that. it has to be done in conjunction with review -- a complete review of all of the policies within p.a. and how they are administered. because the last thing we as a state wants to have happen is get a -- an award that is based on an estimate and then have to pay money back and collect money back from local government to turn money back. we would have a very careful review of the policies. >> i would like to add something. in the earthquake once again because of the score, we did do some upfront funding. if a project came in and the state or local government said
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it was going to be $2 million, we wouldn't give them the $2 million but we would give them a portion. so they could get it started. >> we aren't throwing money quickly. people are waiting just to get marred. mr. marsh do you see a problem? turn on your mic. >> thank you, i apologize. i thought that there is a version of housing for it to be rebuilt to higher standards. but in other parts said it can be rebuilt to what it was. am i correct? i think that -- some of our rebuilding statutes say we cannot rebuild to what would be 19 -- 21st century standards. you're forcing, if the building is 100 years old, are you going
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to rebuild it? >> fema covers themselves in the earthquake, actually not in the earthquake, in my disaster after that fema then would say, yes, if the state takes it to this point, you can have mitigation money to take it to the other point. but there was not rack cat funds. if you're redoing a whole school system in the chicago after a tornado, there never would be enough money. that's why updating codes is critical. >> this is getting to be touchy. because climate change and energy conservation is a top priority for this subcommittee, this committee, and the congress of the united states. now we have to get out because industry helps us to figure out. we have realtime bigots now to
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pay back. now that is going to confront us in louisiana. if you're rebuilding mercy hospital, what kind of energy systems are you putting in? they are going to cost more. i'll tell you this much. we're going to build the department of homeland security in ward eight. it is going to be a lead building. it's going to be a -- it may not be platinum, but it's going to be as close to that as we can, because we know it's going to be there forever in this case because it a cabinet agency. that should be pretty easy to figure out. but i do know today what i did not know five years ago, what the payback on many energy systems is. i don't know if we had confronted this. i did not come to the committees attention. this is the kind of thing that we have got to be prepared for. it would save the federal and
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state money. it costs some money in advance beyond what we would have paid ten years ago. and when the bag gets factored in or not, it will be an explosive question for some of us with a major issue today. >> i would certainly love to see the committee ask that of fema. because there's huge dollars that have been spent rebuilding buildings -- >> we will certainly ask that. would you dare, for example, that's going to be a healthy part of that $3 billion. essentially build it back to how it was, if you ever figure that out, given what we now know about energy conservation. that's the hottest spot of the map of the united states. it's a hospital. you're going to have it -- you're going to have electricity systems running or need to be running in the event of an earthquake. you're going to have to override
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that in the other -- anything else you can think of. you're not going to move all those people out again just like that. you didn't move them out before. all of that is now experience that we have. today the best of you before, as you can see when we put a big question like that what helps is a fully array of experts so you can cross pollinate one another. is there anything you want to say before we call this hearing to a close? let me thank each and every one of you for fruitful and productive and stimulating testimony that's going to help us. we're going to do something. the question now given the kind of information we're getting from experts at your level, what is the most we can do with the least possible harm? i say that with some meaning. we mean to do no harm.
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we have found that that fema left to its own devices may do harm by doing nothing. and thus we're going to need to try to revice as well and not just simply throw count the gauntlet. thank you. hearing is adjourned. >> so you're been watching the hearing on improving government response to disasters. to get a further background about how communities are continuing to deal with the
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aftermath of hurricane katrina, we spoke with a new orleans reporter. >> we're southward of the new orleans times nearly four years. congress continues to look at post hurricane recovery efforts. how's the recovery doing? >> it's continuing to be slow. but there's progress being made. ironically, our economy hasn't been as hurt as badly as other parts of the country. mainly because there's still some spending going on construction. a lot of rebuilding, though not enough some residents are waiting for homes to be repaired or rebuilt. or for public infrastructure projects to be completed. but our unemployment job loss has been much less than job losses elsewhere. and i'd hate to go through a major disaster like that whether a recession, but that has helped. >> what sort of changes has been
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put in place to help avoid what happened? >> one recent development was the establishment by the department of homeland security which of course manages the federal emergency management agency which distributing federal funding for the rebuilding and the set up for arbitration process to settle disputes between local and state governments. and the federal bureaucracy for what qualifies. a lot of projects were stalled because the locals wanted the project to be built in a certain way and fema said it's a regulation. they didn't allow for that process. local governments want to make the building adapt a little bit better. >> and this is moving some of those projects? >> yeah, it's starting to. because the arbitration panel for a couple of judges and federal administrative judges will determine what projects can be go and what can't. it will speed up the prop
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seases. it started and the jury is out on how much it will speed things up. every execation will speed it up. >> how many people are still living in temporary houses? >> there are people in temporary housing, but most of the people in trailers have moved into at least some temporary apartment or housing. but the vast majority are now out of temporary housing. either moved back into their old homing or have found alternative housing. >> can you give us an idea about how much money the federal government has spent and what about the state efforts? >> it's been well over $100 million on katrina and rita alone. locals have spent in the tens of
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billions of dollars in terms of matching. so it's been a massively expensive disaster. >> what about the federal, state corporation? are there measures in place to address some of the issues that arose? >> if the arbitration process is designed to deal with those disputes and come up with a process that resolved them much more expeditiously than had been the case before. >> what do you hear about the delegation on what needs to be done? >> it's all about flood and hurricane protection. the big fight will be over the goal of the delegation to come up with category 5 which is the most destructive hurricane and protect it from a category five storm right now. we're trying to rebuild to the level where we can protect it as a category three hurricane. category five would be muching much more expensive.
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but in the view of the members, it is very important. to give folks and businesses confidence that they could either move back on relocate to the area and not worry about the major destructive hurricane. >> it's an update. bruce alpert. thank you. >> right now on c-span a panel discussion on the role state governments play in disaster response. we'll hear from the president of the national management energy at this event. it's going on right now on c-span. >> here's our schedule. next dr. francis collins. then the newspaper speaks about the israeli-arab peace process.
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after that part of a hearing on wartime contracting oversight. >> this fall enter the home to america's highest court from the grand public places to those only accessible by the nine justices. the supreme court coming on c-span. >> up next remarks from c francis collins. he formally oversaw the human genome project and map of human dna. this is the first news conference on august 7th. it's an hour. >> in my presentation to the town meeting this morning, i tried to outline five specific
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themes that i think are useful in terms of portraying particular areas of unique opportunity. and i will do that briefly for you now. and then i'll be glad to answer your questions. i've arrived at these over the course of the past several months talking to the people about where the science and national and international needs are. and these are broad themes. and again i was a little worried in bringing up anything as an area of emphasis that people who don't hear their disease or favorite technology will feel they have fallen off the list. this is not a laundry list. this is more at a higher level areas of general applications to many diseases and disciplines that i think are ripe for more vigorous exploration. the first of those is more in the basis science arena. that is to apply the truly
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remarkable opportunities that are coming forth from testifyingnology, nanotechnology, images, genomics, environmental science. all of those areas undergoing real revolution in their ability to collect data sets that are quite comprehensive about how life works and how sometimes something goes wrong and disease occurs. in the past they were limited in the terms of the kinds of questions they could ask and the ways they could approach. you to study this particular protein or this particular physiological phenomenon or this cell type. we have the ability to ask questions that have the word all of them. what are all of the ion channels? what are all of the ways that development gets you from a single cell to something much more complicated? and there are areas in
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particular that i think are right for that exploration. but this is not intended to be exclusive. cancer would certainly be one. the ability to determine all of the reasons that are good cell goes bad and goes from being a well behaved to one that's a ma anything nan si. and it's something that is right for expansion. the same kinds of things could be said about autism. clearly a disorder of great concern and interest for parents for the public at large for the administration and the congress for all of us for scientists to try to understand this puzzling and frustrating dosser and the tools we may be able to bring to bare. some of them are posed to be able to answer questions that have really been difficult to come up with answers for in the past. things like the microbiome.
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it catalogs all of the microbes that live on and in us. if balanced, we live properly, but if unbalanced, could lead to diseases we don't know. this approach for the biological process has never had a better shot than it does right now towards shedding new light. and i'd like to see that be one of the themes that we try to apply. a second theme is going to be the focus on translation to take the basic science discovery that are bursting around us and bring those to bare in the die nossic and therapeutics. obviously this is an area where public partnership is crucial. we've already seen the beginnings to empower the early
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stages in the development of they are pout poutics, like many investigators in the past would have assumed someone else would pick up the ball and run after they make a discovery about a rare disease are now taking that next step themselves. i think nih by investing can develop partnerships with the private sector. where nih funding derisks a project to where if the market is large, it becomes more attractive to the pharmaceutical or biotech company to pick up a particular product along the way towards a clinical trial and run with it. there's been a lot of discussion about that both of where the science is going and what the public hopes we are going to be pushing hardest of all which is to come up with interventions for people who suffer for which
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we currently don't have good preventive or therapeutic measures. along the lines in the investment and translations, certainly stem cell research in my mind is a natural area for increased investment and sort of innovation given the fact that we have the president's order and nih has issued federal guidelines about how to review the use of the stem cell lines for nih funded purposes. and we have the new development of the ips cells which have enormous but uncertain promise for the application to a long list of diseases. this is clearly an area that we want to see pushed forward with great energy and creativity. so first two areas that applying technologies to fundamental to questions in biology and translation of basic science into treatments and diagnostics and prevention strategies. the third one fits very much
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with where we are until national conversation about health care reform. i think nih should be right in the middle by not providing political advice but providing evidence that is going to be useful in assistanting decision makers about the directions we need to go in order to both produce better health care for our nation and also to try to reign in that scary curve of increasing health care costs. that means putting science to work. for the benefit of health care reform. you've heard probably quite a bit about comparative effectiveness research, the ability to try to assess when there was more than one possibly intervention when is the benefit of one over the other. nih has been doing that research for many years. although i'm not sure it was called by that label. and i think we will in fact be we already are as part of the stimulus funding. i would say from my perspective,
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we embrace that as an opportunity to do good clinical research that's going to produce rigorous outcome data that is going to assist in the process of making wise decisions about american health care. obviously, there has to be some concerns there particularly when it comes to the ways in which comparative effectiveness research may collide with personalized medicine because you would not want to lose the individual in this mix. but i believe there are ways to balance that. along with that area of science that made health care reform would be pharmacogenomics. what's the right doze at the right time to reduce the adverse events and increase the effectiveness of the drugs that we have. along with that, i think there needs to be a focus on how to implement prevention in a truly effective way that is going to both require good science that
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will enable prevention to be individualized, and focuses on the behavioral aspects of that equation and gives us a better sense of what is it that motivates people to receive this sort of information and use it to their own benefit by modifying health behaviors. health disparities will also need to be a focus about how to practice more prevention and therapeutics. that is something i'm interested in seeing made a high priority. a fourth theme in one which has already been invested in by nih and other organizations is global health. we are at the time it seems where our national effort to try to exercise soft power as part of both diplomacy and as part of our american personality of trying to exercise benevolence to the world is being promoted at the highest level. nih has that same motivation as a central part of who we are.
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we do support a lot of global health particularly in areas like aids, malaria, tuberculosis, there's a new developing world to look at nonchronic diseases. and i think there's opportunities also to look at some of the infebruary wows diseases that have not gotten so much attention but have looked at hundreds of people. we want to push forward new ideas at therapeutics in the same way the rare diseases may need some help to get them pushed along. not so rare diseases that happen in the developing world which offer suffer from a economic motive could benefit in trying to come up with new ideas about prevention age treatment. i personally from having spent some time as volunteer physician
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in the developing world see this as a great and compelling opportunity. finally, the fifth theme is about reempowerring the research community through the abili to support young investigators. to work on our training programs. to further enhance their quality. to emphasis the diversity in the work force, to focus our peer review and try to achieve something in the stable and predictable funding project tri. the feast and famine scenario is demoralizing. and we can no longer just assume that america will continue to flourish regardless, because you see lots of other countries who are achieving a much more impressive and predictable funding trajectories right now than we perhaps has been doing in the past few years. in that regard, perhaps the
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concern that i have that wakes me up already, even on day one, it's been waking me up for several weeks almost is what is going to happen after the two years of the american recovery and reinvestment act funding expires. that funding has to be spent in fiscal year '09 and '10. we'll be hearing more about that in the next couple of months in terms of what they are doing to invest those dollars in initiatives. but what happens when we get to fy '11? does the innovation drift back to where it had been prior to to the moment? that would result in what does the modeling in success rates for grantees plummeting to historic lows. the opportunity that was presented by the stimulus package was responded to by investigators in remarkable
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ways. for the challenge grants in which we put forward of the major new comb point. expecting perhaps to get a couple of thousands of applications and to be able to fund three or four hundred there are more than 20,000 applications received all of which had to be reviewed, all of which had been, decisions will be made shortly about which will receive funds. the funds need to be rewarded before the end of the fiscal year. this tells you what a pent up demand and opportunity exist out there in the innovative minds of american biomedical researchers. but obviously the success rate here is going to be really, really low. maybe 3% will get funded. the rest will presumably because they are good ideas come back in applications next year and the year after. so we're going to see both a
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potential falling off of a cliff if the fy '11 budget doesn't take some account of this. and along with that, an additional bonus of new ideas stimulated by this very moment of economic opportunity. a perfect storm if you will. i think we can make the chase with great compelling logic that is supported biomedical research and is value and almost unmatched in terms of economic and improvement of human health and longevity. a trend that continues and can be traced in large part in nih funded restroom. and in the way which every dollar reveals or returns about $2.25 within one year in terms of economic goods and services. if you want to be looking at our economic situation, this is a very good place to put funds. but obviously there are going to be many other concerns is that
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the appropriators will be wrestling with in terms of the future of where the discretionary budget goes in the next couple of years. and many of those other needs will also be quite serious. so this cannot be considered in any way as an easy conversation with an easy outcome. and again i think if there's one area for myself personally i feel well occupied and the most intense energy and effort is to make that case that for the success of our nation's leadership and biomedicine and for the health of our people to achieve that kind of predictable , stable, funding circumstances so that a young investigator starting a career has the confidence that is there is a career for them. that has to be our number one priority. in coming years. i will try whenever i can and maybe with your help in conversations like this to try to make those points to those
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who i hope will be interested in hearing it. so i'm going to stop hear otherwise to say, again, i hope to lead a phase of nih where openness is an important feature of everything we do. that includes being open with the press what questions you may hey and making myself available as much as i can to address those questions. >> thank you very much within c collins. we're going to open it up to question and state your name and affiliation. >> donna young by bioworld. i'd like to expand on the fiscal year of 2011 is keeping you awake at night. i'm assuming that you already are trying to come up with how you're going to present this to congress and to the american people. what are some of the those things that you are working on
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as far as being able to jump from, you know, just the fact that you need the dollars to do this research to the importance of why? >> well, it is my first day, so i haven't fully formulated a plan that's going to be necessary to try to make this case. i think i can mention a number of directions. clearly to simply make this case on the basis of success rate. we have nih often pointed to that that something matters allot. it is going to be a enterprise and the chance that investigators have to keep pursuing ideas. but the skeptics will say maybe you have too many investigators and too many grants and you've overfilled the pipeline. i don't agree with that. i think the pipeline is underfilled in terms of the promise. i think we have to go beyond
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success rates to make the case about the way that scientific opportunities are there. the five themes will be part of what i will try to talk about when people are interesting in learning more about the science and why this is such a special time. i think i will need to make the case, not just me but others as well about the economic returns for the kind of investment of public money which are extremely impressive when you compare to the repity and the degree to which $1 of nih money feeds back into the economy. and one of the things that i'd like to spend more time looking at. we already have a plan for a bit of a quick brainstorming question about this with some leading economist. we need to make a case that has not been generally heard, or at least not that often, that medical research supported by nih is actually a way of identifying pathways towards health care options that are not
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as expensive. look at our cost per person, it's out of line for the health care that's delivered. and there's an assumption out there, many of the commentators that talk about this are talking about expensive scans that with nih does another study, health care gets more expensive. i think there are good counterexamples to that. we need to be putting forward information of that sort as people are looking at that of our health care costs rising to reach from where they are now, 16% gdp and going on up. we have to bend that curve. and nih putting itself forward in personalized medicine prevention strategy and the ability to use other tools to figure out therapies for people instead of using approaches. in new innovations to do a better job of treating diseases with compounds that are going to
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be less likely to cause toxicities which result in more medical expense. all those things have to be part of the case to be made. bottom line, has to be put forward, is that a dollar invested in nih has all of these potential benefits. and further more that if you don't figure out a way to do that, you are at risk of losing a generation of young investigators who are our hope for the future and can only stand so much of these ups and downs before they decide to go to law school or do some other thing. and that is not going to meet this vision. >> thanks. >> bob grant "the scientists" magazine. clearly you voiced a vision for very broad long-term study in which everything from genomeics
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to nutrition is included. tell me how that looks now coming into an agency with a very robust, time-constrained budget and focusing on the research that can produce direct economic benefit in a short time scale. >> yeah, i have been enthusiastic for five years promoting the idea of a u.s. large-scale prospective cohort study. enrolling individuals from half a million to a million. gender, age, population background to be a snapshot of our country. and collecting information on all those individuals as far as their medical experiences, their environmental exposures, genetics, and so on. this was study by expert group
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of 60 people. they got pretty specific in terms of saying how such a study could be run and even down to what clinical items would be determined on each person who came in every four years. the cost of this at that point came out to be in the neighborhood of $400 million a year for half a million people. and that's draft of that particular protocol is still available on the web. i think attracted a lot of interest about the price tag particularly during the time of flat budgets. but it never got off the ground. i -- variousroposals were made about well, could you get together the existing studies that are being run by nci and heartland blood and create a prospective study. it wouldn't work nearly as
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ideally as you would like. it would turn out to be heavily loaded with older individuals. it would turn out not to have the representation that you'd like to see, for a study of this short. it would be very much a second choice. i do think perhaps we could look again though at the opportunity at least trying to do something along those lines if not being quite so ambitious. but i will be bold and say i think if we don't start a study soon we'll be kicking ourself in another ten years when we wish we had the data for that. we have expanded -- framingham on steroids to be able to answer questions about all diseases. and in may ways this might start disease specific studies which we will be spending a fair amount of money. but it's not an easy case to make for a high price tag. now that i'm here on day one,
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i'd like to initiate some more conversation about this. we have a study that is similar to this in terms of its national snapshot, but it's focused on children. national children's study. it has been under a pilot phase which has many goals in terms of trying to identify environmental childhood diseases. it won't tell us middle age or late on disorders for a long time. if we are interested about nows more about diabetes and cancer and diseases that inflict people in mid to late life, we probably need another way to get there. so, yeah, i guess i'd like to see the conversation explored a bit further. maybe there's a way. a lot of this can depend on what happens with the resources. thank you. >> just to follow up.
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is there something that can be funded with the common fund? >> certainly the common fund as most of you know is a component of the budget which is now actually legislated as part of nih authorization act and which has the contention of supporting projects that are not appropriate for an single institute. i guess in terms of the science it would be a good fit. at moment the budget is about $500 million. so this would be 70% of it. i will tell you the common fund is already supporting a lot of exciting science and many of which is multiyear projects. so there's not going to be a large amount of money coming available in the common fund for new initiatives. certainly not on this scale. unless the common fund where to be enlarged. now there is a provision in the reauthorization act for the common fund to grow. but only if the budget grows
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similarly. so again, it's coming back, i guess to where we were through several of these it rations. it's going to be depend on what the resource base is, whether we can tackle something like that. i agree in an ideal world if the project was financially feasible, the common fund might be a sensible place for the resources to come from at least in part. :
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idea of who there being some kind of government intervention in terms of saying pricing for products they had brought to market through clinical trials and fda approval would make it very uninterested in approaching such a project in the first place but i do think there is a model that could achieve some of that in a way that would be more acceptable. the idea, and this is already being investigated through a program called trend which stands for therapeutic rare and neglect the diseases that started this year with $24 million allocated by congress, the idea is for this category of rare neglected diseases there may be an investigator who understands something about the disease that sets off a libelled about a possible approach to therapy.
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that could be approached using the high throughput screening centers we've gone through the common fund for of them that have the same capacity each one of them is a mid-sized pharmaceutical company to begin to screen for compounds that might have potential benefit. the trend even allows the next step for a selected set of projects to go forward where you have a promising compound but it has to get a called valley of debt and to get through the toxicity testing and ability to optimize the molecules what has appropriate properties and is still efficacy likely. and that is where many things get lost. trend will enable select number of and i each projects to go to the process. out of the other end should come in a successful project and attractive compound in which one would hope at that point be of interest to a biotech or pharmaceutical company to want
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to license. the compound will at that point of intellectual property attached because it will have passed into the zone of utility so the model people are talking about is to arrange through a licensing the opportunity and this would be competitive so many companies could ask to be given a crack addict. an arrangement where the compound is licensed the company then takes it through clinical trials and fda approval but the license involves royalties that would return to the government to support research if in fact the product mix money. so there you are not regulating the cost of the compound that the company is going to set which seems to be the deal breaker but you are engineering a system that allows some payback to the public for the public investment. >> we are going to go to the
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phones. >> i am with clinical engineering news and with regards to translation and mentioned increased collaboration of private and public sector but do you foresee there will be increased collaboration with the other federal agencies like the fda? >> absolutely. i'm glad you asked the question because it is the important priority and certainly for me personally i want to build stronger relationships with other agencies both within hhs and insight and fda would be at the top if we are going to see this successful transitional opportunity so i know peggy from previous experiences back in the clinton administration and i know from speaking with her she is extremely enthusiastic about strengthening the relationships so i think there are needs in particular when it comes to rare diseases there are issues the standard fda approach to
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evaluate compound at the ing phase may not be very friendly to sissies for which there are not that many patients out there and likewise when it comes to final approval. so, peggy seems amenable to the idea having serious conversations how we could work more effectively as long as we are talking about other agencies i think relationships with the cdc should be prioritized as extremely important especially in the year of things like h1n1 and that will be a focus for myself and with our record on the comparative effectiveness research where inaki hs often the producer of the clinical research studies and arc is often in the position of looking at a analysis across multiple studies and draw robust conclusions we have a lot of reasons in the current climate to be even closer together and clancy and i have had initial discussion how to do that.
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>> we will take one more question from the floor and go back and forth and give people a chance. paul behind you had a hand up for a while. >> federal news radio and wto radio here in washington one of the questions that came to mind to me when you were talking about the need to continue research funding beyond 2011 when that your of funding from out is the need to continue to keep young durham researchers in the pipeline all throughout the federal government there's concern about the retirement wave that's going to be moving through as more baby boomers reach retirement age and decide to move on to another phase of their lives how do you understand the challenge here at nih in that regard and how might that in turn into the discussion about chongging to keep funding levels up here to keep
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researchers working? >> so the demographics are complex and somewhat different from my understanding and again i need to know more about this since this is my first day i can keep saying that. i think it's certainly true that within the nimh extramural staff and the administrative staff that we have serious concerns about the likelihood of retirements finning work force in the curse of the coming years with a lot of the people who have labored so effectively on our approaching retirement age and less vigorous pipeline of young scientists and administrators coming into our work extramural and administrative programs. in terms of the work force of scientific investigators out there in universities and institutes, it is a little bit less of a problem because
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science has been growing and a and exciting rate. there has been a lot of interest, not enough i would say but a lot of interest among young people seeing this as a courier and so the grading of the research enterprise is not quite as much of a concern in laboratories doing bench research for clinical research as it perhaps is and those who are doing the current administration. but i eink even with that said i still think the most major concern we would have as far as a generational one is in the young scientists just starting their careers because they are at a fragile state. you go through many years of graduate school. you often spend many more years was a postdoctoral fellow system right now is such that often because it is so hard to get supported a young person is not actually funded by the first
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independent grant until after 40 and if you lose that person at that point, that is a tragedy you have lost their future scientific contributions and you have also spent all of this money in training that person to be a cutting edge scientist now they are going to do something else. so of all the issues in terms of generational ones that has to be number one. >> back to the phones, first call please identify yourself and affiliation. thanks. >> it always takes a minute. >> there are no questions at this time. >> we will go back to the floor. paul. >> thanks, paul baskin. i guess following on that last
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one, you did mention here this morning about the need to encourage more young investigators but i guess what i'm looking for is beyond the obvious problem of the budget are you suggesting is a way of doing that? is it all tied to the budget must be larger or is there a strategic way within a certain dollar valued kind of makes that happen more? >> well, nih has been trying various approaches of the institutes have been very creative about this and it's good there is diversity we are doing the science of science policy by looking at ways to do that. many institutes have programs investigators coming in for their first application get a special leg up in the review process where their priorities scores or improved slightly by the fact they are coming for the first time in council's take that into account when they decide how to do the funding. we should continue that effort. of course that's not the ultimate solution. if you have a budget that's
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overall limited and you are trying to get people started in the pipeline and they come back after they've had their first successful grant and they can't get a second one you haven't solved the problem. that is a stopgap. i think we need to do something about the aging of the investigators before they come to their first application, something i mentioned a minute ago with the average age has crept up to 42 now before you get your first ro1 or equivalent brand funded. one thing i've worried about but this is purely blue sky haven't discussed with anybody whether we could pilot on a small scale the kind of program famous at the the whitehead institute in boston where you take an extremely promising student who has just finished ph.d. and instead of requiring them to go through six, seven years of post doctoral fellowship under the directorship of a principal investigator you give them a small amount of resources,
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laboratory technician and mentor who can guide them as far as not making missteps but it is up to them to decide what's the project they are going to work on, what direction they are going to go. that's not for everybody. postdoctoral fellowships are good as part of training but for an exceptional person sort of joe derisi or a number of the whitehead institute fellows who achieved great success this might be a way to get that person going while they are still young and full of spit and ginger and ready to set the world on fire and haven't had a post doctoral experienced with amount getting that kind of thing of the would not be a big contribution could be worth exploring. >> thank you. yes. >> could you talk a little bit about your priorities combating h1n1 and specifically administering the vaccine?
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>> again on day one and recognizing there has been intense national effort to organize a response to this remarkable a rifle on the scene of the h1n1 influenza virus i am not going to tell you anything you cannot derive by looking at the extensive information that you can find on the web at the site i attended the summit held here at nih no less than three cabinet members appeared from homeland security hhs and education and i was very impressed by the level of knowledge and detail that was presented at that meeting and how much that had clearly involved people at the highest level making the plans. here at nih, when i have questions about h1n1 i know i can go to a world expert and that is tony into the latest
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plan. as you know there has been a decision made at particular groups that are high risk with axiom ought to be particularly targeted including children including pregnant women including people with other chronic illnesses and there is a very strong effort being made to try to move at a prodigious pays considerable expense the enterprise for work to have back seem ready in the fall before juan hopes this particular virus appears in a big way obviously everybody is kind of holding their breath about the timing knowing that this is seriously a virus that seems to have high and activity everything i have heard would indicate that the likelihood is that the virus is going to behave reasonably much the way it had been in the spring and has been in the southern hemisphere and the fear it might acquire increased and cause higher mortality rates has not materialized and that's great to hear about but again at
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the moment i am pretty much melting informational heard from others and if you want the real scoop talk to tony. >> susan. >> susan from health affairs. dr. collins, congratulations are want to ask if you have composed a song for your first day of work. >> that was considered and rejected by those who had better judgment than all right. i was considering it and they thought it would be undignified but at a future point. >> we will still wait for that. two quick questions one else you know some of the research and advocacy groups are now targeting authority billion dollar a year annual appropriation for in i.c.h. to work the next several years and i wonder if you resonate with that particular number and then secondly, you mentioned earlier the words. review and innovation in the same sentence. of course there are many in the research field to believe particularly in the era of st
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funding the study groups that review many of the ro1 proposals frankly are not innovative and take the least of the path of least resistance approving the the most familiar science as opposed to innovative science because there simply isn't enough money to go around so i am wondering about your particular ideas of addressing that concern. >> great questions. thank you, susan. in terms of the 40 billion-dollar number, ghosh wouldn't it be lovely. i promise of that word come to pass their be wonderful ideas ways to spend it that would be exciting scientifically. if you simply look at what has been lost as far as buying power for nih since 2003 setting aside the wonderful two years of the stimulus package looking at the rest of the trajectory nih lost about 17% of its power over the timetable and simply to try to recover that would bring you back up into the range of 36 to $7 billion.
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i guess one has to balance the opportunity with reality if you want to simply do the math and say what would it take to have an eye each state must able trajectory realizing that eurodollars were spread out over two years that means there was about an extra 5 billion in the budget for 09 and ten. if you wanted to stay flat out kiri he went to 35 and he wanted to see growth potential you need to go higher. those are just numbers and obviously many reasons why the nih director has to be realistic in dealing with this and simply quote unrealistic numbers i do think when you ask as congress does for a professional judgment budget that is what could you actually spend if it were available 40 billion would fit within that. in terms of innovation, this is a chronic issue as long as i've been involved with a 98 which is now 16 years. the question about how to
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stimulate innovation in the peer review system has come up repeatedly and comes up especially at times of difficult budget crunches because there is a great concern about spending even 1 dollar on a project that might feel you have in front of you a bunch of other credible investigators with long track records or doing solid research and you have trouble imagining pulling the plug although that might in many instances be the wrong decision that is sort of the herd mentality and it is interesting that we have met the enemy in terms of opposition to innovation and it is ourselves that if you are the scientist% in the grand highly innovative and it got dinged you are offended by the process but that seems to be cussing scientist might be joining with the of course of saying well, you know this idea just needs a little bit more preliminary data maybe we should let them come back again to another application because we have all these others
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that seem more solid. if we are serious about innovation we have to meet it and that means we have to be willing to take risks and see grant's supported that ultimately fail to produce because they were too high risk. nih is trying a lot of things to encourage this and al yes was a strong promoter of new ways to try to promote that things like the new innovator grant for instance the title gives it away like a pioneer grant wears you ask people to come up with a really were not breaking transformational idea and give five years' worth of support and don't ask them for much preliminary data. those have been well received and as a whole new category of support that requires innovation if you're even going to get on the on ramp. but still, when it comes to the rank and file what goes on in study sections this is an issue we have to pay close attention to. there may be a review of the peer review process ably led by
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larry and jeremy berg and reported about a eight years ago on a number of recommendations for revising peer review to try to do a better job of encouraging innovation and less concern about did you get the ph exactly right in the buffer you are going to use instead 39 and the steps that were recommended by the group are being implemented now some have been, some are almost there. it would be interesting to see how much reinvention did we achieve and how much did we need to go back and look at this again and push it again. i will tell you as nih director this will be a high priority to make sure how our system encourages people to do things that are not obvious. that's what we should be all about >> there's time for one more question. >> maggie fox with reuters.
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is it fair to say you were holding out to congress a carrot in the form of comparative effectiveness research or something else in return for a more steady funding source? >> i'm not sure i would say it quite like that but i am trying to say that in my age should not be a reluctant partner in what is a national priority of trying to understand how we can best modify health care to get the best outcomes and that is part of the mission. it has been all along but it seems at this point that mission is getting particularly high priority public attention for reasons i resonate with and i think most of you in the room would as well so i don't know if i would say that it is a carrot. it is certainly a circumstance we are increasing our hand singing there is a need we can meet. it is going to cost some money to do these research efforts so if you want us to meet it we need to have a conversation
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about that but it's not looked around the other way trying to figure out okay what could we come up with that would improve our budget. it's being driven by the scientific opportunity. >> i saw your hand -- >> thank you. stacy, fox 53 we all appreciate scientific debate and i join the musical reference it is a bad character that makes you relatable and i think as we have all seen by the recent health care debate the public wants to be engaged in what is happening in this country so how can you explain to the american public at large and an easy and reliable fashion by this agency is important deserving attention and funding? >> that is a big charge and something that i agree we have not necessarily succeed at so far. most of the american public does not recognize and i each as needing anything. they certainly don't know as much about an i.c.h. as nasa and but we have an opportunity with
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the new media that is out there using the internet maybe i should start tweeting. to engage the tomb on internet savvy generation to get excited about what we are doing to inform the public why they should care about medical research and what it's doing for them and to get the next generation of young people excited about playing some role and john and i had a couple of brief conversations i would like to see this as a serious opportunity for an i.c.h. to be visible to come up with creative communications strategies to be more proactive and not simply wait for one of you to call us and say to you have a comment on the following but to actually engineer an outreach program that has its fingers in a lot of different directions. not in a way that we would try to in any way be self promoting or over negative the results what science is doing that as a part of our educational role.
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we have a lot of stuff a big on and we don't necessarily tell the world about it as often or effectively as we should and i would love to see that happen. i made a list of the things i would like to accomplish in the first six months. i have that list in my pocket i am not going to show because i would be embarrassed i only got three of them on but this is one of them on the list to try to come up with a new and more effective outreach communications strategy that has a broad impact and let the public know what we are doing. you all can help with that. >> can i follow-up on that briefly? you think congress recognizes the importance at an i.c.h. funding to the small business community which is america? >> , chris is a bunch of citizens of the u.s. of various sorts of backgrounds. some certainly do and those that are in the position who have the largest influence on nih in the appropriate or authorizing committees tend to get
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themselves informed and we do our best to try to make sure we aren't able to do that. but it is variable and every member of congress brings their own personal experience to the table and if they happen to have had personal experience seeing how that is true they are likely to be much more jazzed we can do. one of the things i think we should do more of a center rich guarantees to invite members to see what is happening with nih funding in their own districts and states of this isn't so hypothetical and i hope we can see more of that happening. >> this doesn't preclude the individual interviews so just want to make sure you know that. i know you've been dying to ask a question for quite awhile so i am going to give you the floor and then wrap up and again come to us if you would like to have some follow-up interviews. >> nature news. just two quick questions about here on campus wondering if there is any immediate plans for
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infrastructure repairs that have been talked about or any changes that has the institute and as a second relating question is if we can expect dustin sell registry any time soon. >> good questions. infrastructure you may know there were funds put into for buildings and facilities both for extramural and intermural purposes and that was wonderful to see because we had gone through a number of years where bnf as we call it has had little financial support and a lot of the buildings and infrastructure have suffered as a result of lack of basic maintenance to be able to carry out. but with this influx of funds we to reduce from the stimulus package for shuffle ready projects we are now in a better position in the short term to be able to catch up on some of the things that have been delayed. in terms of dustin sell registry
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you've seen the nih guidelines about stem cell research you know that involves the convening of a working group the it lies a committee to the director who will be in power with the need to look over the evidence that various stem cell lines have lived up to the standards for work by the administration in terms of informed consent and so on and that group will be assembled quite soon and begin their work. the way this works out as you probably noticed an investigator needs to come forward with a proposal about a particular line asking for that approval. nih doesn't try to go out and take those out of people and that guarantees we hope that the lines of great sigh significance will come first. i can't tell what the timetable for that is going to be in terms of how long it will take once the working group is in peril and applications began to come and i don't think that is clear hit and again it is my first day but i can tell you from myself
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personally discussed the a high priority to get this done and to permit loose with the incredibly target of ideas about nih fonted investigators to see where we can go with a field that is obviously moving slowly in the past and it will now have the chance to do. is there another component of your question or is that it? the national human genome institute my former institute is currently led by a very able acting director alan guttmacher. the search closed. the committee has been beefed up in reviewing the applications so it is hoped the new director for the institute will be put forward some time in the not too distant future. you may know the national cancer institute is a presidential point that although it doesn't require senate confirmation and so that process which is of course officially led by the white house is also one of great interest and to follow upon not
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as clear at the present time with that process will turn out to be but i think this administration has you have heard in many of the president's pronouncement this is bring to be high priority to identify and absolutely superb leader. the national institute of alcoholism and alcohol abuse is also led by an acting director of the moment but you may know there is a discussion going on led by the scientific management review board about the possibility whether niaaa and the drug abuse institute might be merged and that is going to play out over many months and i think that reason the doctors felt it might not be a good idea and begin the process of recruiting an institute director until it was clear whether there might be a merger in bob works. we will have to see how that plays out. i don't know the current status of those to liberations.
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>> thank you. dr. collins, if you had closing remarks we will wrap it up, thanks. >> i will say i'm surprised one question did not come up and doubles my involvement in the discussions about science and faith which has been something that has graced many pages of the blogosphere in the course of the last three or four weeks since the nomination was announced indeed resulted in a couple of op-eds even in "new york times." i just want to reassure the scientific community as i did at town meetings i have completely stepped aside from any involvement in those activities although i was involved prior to today i have resigned from the foundation that focused on the selling in steve conversation which i founded previously and that will go on under the direction of others. i want to reassure everybody that on in here to lead the nih as best i can as a scientist and that my own personal interest which will continue in a
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personal way about the interface between sciencend faith will not interfere with the judgments i will need to make as the director of the nih. >> thank you three much everyone for joining. and thank you, dr. collins. [inaudible conversations] .. >> and then a discussion on a
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new report examing juvenile crime and the impact of life without parole sentences. >> all this week on c-span 2 at 8 p.m. eastern, booktv. we're looking at books relating to the economy. tonight we explore how the u.s. evolved into what he said a nation where financial firms are allowed to self-regular grace. his -- after that doug stanton on his book "horse soldiers." soldiers that secretly interafghanistan and road to war on horses against the taliban.
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and two figures in american foreign policy define the challenges facing the next president. they discussion their book "american and the world; conversations on foreign policy." >> as the health care conversation continues, c-span's health care hub is a key resource. go online and follow the latest tweets, videoadds, and links. also keep up to date with events, even upload your opinion about health care with a citizen video. the c-span health care hub at >> on the even of his trip a
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publisher spoke in washington at the israeli-arab peace process. hosted by the middle east institute, this is an hour long. >> it's a pleasure to welcome dr. said. the steps that need to be taken to achieve piece. i was reporting for npr and i would go to egypt to get opinions. much to my pleasure i discovered not only is he a great interviewer but he gives great sound bytes which is a wonderful treat for a radio journalist. he's also a great egyptian
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thinker and writer who has written intensively on the process of the peace and politics of the region. he was currently chairman of the board of the newspaper which i believe you just joined a month ago. and prior to that he was director of the center for political call studies, and help that position for quite a few years. he's the founder for international alliance for the israeli peace and has been a senior research fellow at harvard university and visiting fellow in foreign policy studyings at brookings among many other positions. he's visiting us from cairo. and we are very, very lucky to have him here with us today. before we begin, a few housekeeping matters.
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this tuesday we're hosting the international crisis group who will be discussing a report about the iraqi government. his report is called iraq and the kurds, trouble along the trigger lines. it just came out and provides excellent analysis on the faultlines in iraq. then on wednesday august 19th, our pakistan study center is hosting a discussion in pakistan with the former head of the aga con university. i hope you can make those talks next week. please join me in welcoming dr.
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abdel moneim said. >> thank you. i have the most impossible mission here to tell you what will happen or what's going on in the arabs or anything. most of the audience has been in the business of israeli peacemaking and war makeing in the past decades. all as we have this kind of this work about what's next? but the key for answering this question or trying to answer this question right or wrong way is to call the moment of what it is. and also the end of the talks and the summer of 2000 and what followed, you know, through clinton and the taliban with the violence. we have the lows of the
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arab/i'll really conflict. we are into a love. one of those loves after another war which was the war in gaza. the arab israeli conflict never fails to be innovative. we have a country to country wars, you know, in 1972. you got tanks, planes, crosses and countercrossing. and you get suicide bombing on one hand in which you know you use a certain kind of violence really to try to press on the other side your views. and you have everything between that level of violence. in between we have united states actor that's less than your terms that's used that's running the business of conflict.
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so we have a moment now. and i would call it the obama moment. it is obama's moment because that's what triggered people to start talking about what's to be done. and obama probably is the first american president that's he's going to solve the conflict. throughout his campaign, after the campaign, he said, and the first day he started calling persons and talking and started making, you know, a very important inform. so the signals were well off. every american president i know the first few months are shying away from the business of the israeli conflict, including bill clinton. even president carter if we came back in early 1977, it is just to keep that monster away.
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but that's the president who came and said i'm going to head on into that problem and solve it. it was not something separate from his gender approach domestically or internationally. he hit it head on. he has quite of an umbrella about dealing with such problems. so in a way, you know, these president is not doing that to show the interest there, but he is interested to get to the bottom of this and get it into a conclusion in the a reasonable amount of time. now, you know, what he's going to do and what's he's doing in the last few months. nine months to say, i found two stories. one in cairo and one in washington. one in cairo goes as so.
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you know that president obama he made and starting listening to everybody. and after calming down, this was his wonderful speech in cairo, now he's proceeding to have the final listening for all of the leaders of the region. and after that he will formulate a kind of framework, we will call framework, some people call it vision, some people call it his plan, and come out sometimes in the fall, september, october, i don't know how much the president will be influenced in the middle east, but he will come sometime this fall. he'll say this is my plan. and this plan should be negotiated between the bodties. eni mean that is the vision in cairo. that's why the president is here, while this plan is in the making, it is important to, you know, consult with a close
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american friends and a lot. that's the story from cairo. the story from washington is quite different. the story from washington from the people that they talk to that's there's nothing in any way related to a plan or vision. but there is the issue of settlements and normalization. and that obama administration wants to create the environment for negotiation or a peace process. something which is contrary to what we know or we have been told before that administration is seeking peace agreements. and even instead of haggling over the peace agreements, we are haggling over the settlements and the normalization issue. today in an article by a friend
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of mine in a newspaper it's called fix and marriage and israeli conflict. and which he put the things like this; that the israeli and arabs are like two feuding families in a small village. when is the middle east in a way is a village. they have been in conflict. the big guys what's about if we marry a girl or a boy from this family and that will end the conflict. so they game into the marriage contract and started very difficult how much money will be paid, where they will be paying, what will happen to the inheritance. so why don't the boys suggest that what about the boy and the girl get together in love making session and this way we'll make
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normalization faster. and so people said well, that can't happen. there is premarital sex in europe and america, but not in the middle east. most of the muslims have problems with this idea. such it came into haggling again about, you know, all the things related to the normalization. and at first he ended it by saying, you know, get to the contract. i mean forget about normalization, forget about the marriage, get into the contract directly. the advice here on the approach here that the idea of -- if israel is going to build 400 units here or you will go into that unit there, we keep, you know, just the game going. which the essence of war president obama from the first
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place. that every peace process ends in a process. it's just a process. and the process is always a challenge by other people who are really planning to disrupt the process. and this kind of settlement, this probably kind of rocket switch might come sometime or any kind of violence that may come here or there will actually lead to disrupting the whole process and then we start over again. is it possible to do that or not? i don't know. but my feeling is the following: that somehow, you know, the issue of normalization and settlement are both points that seemed that the two parties cannot ignore.
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and we are trying to make it to the minimum. i mean trying to make it to the minimum is to create something that's enough for the testic politics of both sides that they can have them. for the israelis to have a tip regarding settlement say that leads to the completion of the 400 units which are already under construction. and on the other side to make a kind of monthly match up of which the arabs and israelis can get together and the israelis can call it normalization. and then come down to the real business of making the contract. that's the kind of process that seems plausible to me. but i guess if it's kept this way, just to look at particularly on the light of
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president barak to washington, i guess it is not enough. the shell here is too light in a way to keep the arab/israeli approach into that direction alone. i guess in the egyptian relation, it got to be much more strategic than this. it got to be much more strategic to include, and you can't keep that just made without syria. syria is an important part of the game. so the game has comprehensive. because syria got some of the costs whether anybody like it or not. and in fact, i must say the syrians have been helpful in the last few months actually have been helpful on the cease fire. we have that now, the law, it
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couldn't continue. hamas coming to cairo and negotiating couldn't have been without the syrians. you know the way the liberties election and how it was, it couldn't have been without the syrians. the syrians i guess are expecting a kind of reward for this. that they will have -- they will be a part of a serious peace process as well. in the lighter circle a not only important, not only is the conflict isolated at least in american eyes from the gender of the strategic situation in ma malaysia, which is many ways since september 11. we have the war in iraq, the war in afghanistan, and the other wars in the asia.
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i'm seeing the situation is deteriorating mainly because of the number of states in the middle asia. we have somalia, iraq, but very soon the situation in sedan is very obviously. i'm not seeing the picture of the earthquake that's taking place there. there are terrorists now to yemen coming from afghanistan and pakistan and with the horn of africa, the violence situation over there. if you add all that together, then you have a very common and strengthening situation. that in a way engulfed conflict in any ways, but also make it
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very solutional with much more important than any time before. the people might see the middle east is dangerous. i believe it is dangerous because we are afraid of the situation that we never faced this situation before. we are in fear of the situation in which danger come from actors, but actors that we don't know. a state or this state that we don't know. we have events we see that the red lights, we have one action of terror that's happening in the desert of egypt in which we have a linkage between terrorists who are working between somalia and sedan, and czech. so we have quite a mix of
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internal threat. the last group or cells that we discovered in the egypt, you know, shorthanded called the terrorists group in cairo. israeli is an internal group, they have palestinians, egyptians, french, some europes and arabs together with connections that go from lebanon to other places with threats that spark related to the israeli conflict in terms of dealing with hamas and partially in dealing with other issues like the swift canal and the maritime pieces. so we have a number of situations that's idolly that
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needs attention. and as such going into the arab/israeli con applicant is extremely important. i guess president obama realized this. but i hope that he will not get into the kind of, i will say, draft into it. and these side shows will take a little effort, and it ends in finger pointing, you did that. you didn't do that. and we come back to the potential issues, having the issue that israel come and say one of the conditions is the condition of israel. as you expect as far as anybody concerns, your aunt said that islamic state of iran, and it is the business of iranian and israelis to decide what is the name of your country. but to add other countries.
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but the issues just come. the point that i want to say when you want to increase or raise the level of feeling or negotiations you bring it to identity, to god, to region, and that's capable of spoiling anything possible. i will stop here. thank you very much for listening. [applause] >> we have a lot of journalists here today. so let's begin with questions from the press. the gentleman in the white, state your name and affiliation. >> good afternoon, i'm bob drifus with "the nation" magazine. i wondered if you could talk about the reconciliation between
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hamas and fata and coming out of the fata congress where that might go and what we might expect let's say over the next six months? >> well, the negotiations between hamas and fata was not easy. and i must say you got too classified into the term of the dynamics and negotiations and environment. and this is effecting those who are negotiating. there was about six issues that i don't remember all. but there was a number of issues that both sides were differencing throughout the negotiations. the general principal was that the palestinians will go to election next january, and in january they will decide once more in a way who is going to leave them into their negotiations or into war.
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we're going to go to hamas and going to the people to decide. and the purpose of the cairo negotiations is to make the road map for that one. and here comes the second issue in the negotiation. in about what we call it, a government, which in arabic i don't know exactly how it say it in english it's called] speaking a foreign language] it's used as a military kind of a government. but it is not. what was talked about was to have a government on both sides but agreed upon by both side nominated by both sides from the palestinian personalities and you will take the palestinian people to the road to election. this was agreed. there are other issues related
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to how to do the system of elections, what to do if you need both sides and gather and then enlist. it was also about the victims of the -- a few months of clashing between the two sides and how to handle this. all that -- almost i can say there's an agreement. there are glitches here and there. but glitches are held in order not to some to signing. so the egyptian business of diplomacy and putting their heads together really has been successful. but hamas in a way, i guess it's held by as i said before the syrian position. and so what the syrian position is allowing hamas to come, talk, and these kind of issues. and in such a way that will delay the coming to our
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conclusion. and egyptian strategy is that's one important part of the big beast that you talked about. the big beast is to get the paul stanians in the situation. they will support and send negotiation to the conference. we used whatever influence we have over the different factions to make the conference successful. and as such, i egyptian approach is to come to reconciliation that is no objection for hamas to be a force been the palestinian spectrum in the position. but also not to have a veto power of what the general palestinian situation will be if the situation for negotiations
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are here. so we will keep the work. there was another approach suggested that to isolate together, and isolate it until the time comes. but that kind of view i think was not pursuant. >> wait, a few more questions . :
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mysterious words about something that we donato and are not sure but we know in the heart that we have something to around. that is the way i understand it. so present president mubarak will be using or at least that what is what he think that already we have a barometer for agreement. he is not coming to urge president obama. actually i guess that is what they talked about in their previous meetings. they met in cairo and at the g8 income london and i guess they talk on the phone and the idea here from what i know is that they talk in a sense of partnership.
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various any general change in the chemistry between five leaders of egypt and the united states. so the idea is as i said the story from cairo is president mubarak will be ready to listen to how we are going to proceed in order to implement what we both know would be the final solution. but as i said, what i hear from washington that it is not quite -- washington is not quite ready for that and still there is some time for normalization and the settlement issues as there are too important pillars or confidence-building. anything else is my own opinion, you know, in the sense that all
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confidence-building attempts to build with a big lack of confidence between the two sides. >> yes, question in the back. >> i work for the al-ahram newspaper in united nations. you mentioned your initial remarks about -- sorry. you mentioned about -- my goodness. i'm terribly sorry. yes, you mentioned there are two different stories regarding what's happening in the middle east, regarding how egypt and how the united states see what is happening now. do you have explanations for these two different stories? i mean, why is egypt seeing the
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so-called peace process in a way which is different from the official u.s. point of view and also you refer to four other in the middle east as failure states, sudan, iraq, somalia, and yemen. do you think anything can be done by egypt or the united states in order just to help them not to go to this catastrophic situation? >> well, for that discrepancy i guess it could be about how much you emphasize. when the two sides talk about an issue, and usually i think the united states is looking for a comprehensive peace, but it is a matter of emphasis and feeling of the can you go now for a final status negotiations or you have got to make more
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preparation. so here it is a matter of speed, urgency and emphasis on both sides. that is my interpretation on why the story is different. the issue of failed states is a completely different story. alladi use word field states it is not a concept used about states that disintegrate the state and lose its meaning and, and i guess both countries can do, but what we can do is probably not very much because countries when they go to failure actually it is a very complex process that outside actors can only work and that is what i think we should do is work both ways like in sudan you work in darfur you work in the south and in the north. but i guess there is the
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necessity to work out for the repercussions that happened because that will be threatening to the red sea, to maritime routes, to egypt of course national security and i guess that's something we have to pay attention to earlier than when we come to the moment. but if we can prevent diplomatically, politically and even economically, i wonder very much what any of the body can do in yemen or the attempt of the south to revive the idea to the yemen states or the situation in darfur and other places if the south particularly breaks down from the north. i mean, all possibilities are there and not special in these cases.
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however, what i care about is actually how to realize that there is a dangerous and serious problem. number two is how to account for the day after if it happens i guess we shouldn't just wake up and find piracy in the horn of africa and that piracy is increasing and then we decide how to deal with that. i guess the situation how to contain the situation in a place like somalia and the coming feeling states i think that earlier the better in dealing with such situations. >> question here in the front. >> let me first welcome you to washington dc. the title of your talk, the arab-israeli peace process, i
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think that using the philosopher point of view it is light and trying to find a black cat in a black room that has no cat in the first place. it is an elusive process that doesn't seem at all to be going anywhere. israel with all of its military power in the region does not want peace. and of course it shows in the last election you have in fact given an excellent overview of the problems surrounding the region itself within the region and outside of the region but you did not talk about the agenda in the united states
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which is more than because of the unemployment, the current depression, the health programs and therefore as far as the arab-israeli conflict is concerned in my opinion it is going to be in the back burner. so, this ads another dimension. i don't really see any hope unless you can find some hopes in the future. thank you. >> thank you very much for your kind words. i beg to differ with you. i mean, i don't know of any time in which the arab-israeli conflict was not within an environment that seriously bad. if i came back to 1977, 1978, 79 when the biggest breakthrough happened in the egyptian is really we have an america that
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was totally demoralized after vietnam. we had the re-emergence of what was called at that time the second cold war. a few beyond nicaragua and a number of countries going to the left and being close to the soviet union. we had at that time very, very difficult and talked cold war and there was recession and inflation and it was called stagflation at the time. and it was double-digit. all over there are bad times and in the middle of all of this. i think always a possibility in the middle east are quite even in my point of view. it depends on how much you really work and take risks. that's why i call it the obama
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moment. all of what i said is dependent on how much the american administration after the previous american administration decided that it is going to, you know, i year in the middle east in a certain image, use military force, teach people how to be space, all the rest of the previous administration. with a new menu that is a bit constructive based on dialogue and there is no mention of the use of military force even when it is used it is, you know, well explant we might differ agreed to the call on this. so we have a different language, a different approach, more emphasis on the human cultural interaction between different at
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for serial slides in the region. so, differing with you i would beg to give it a shot. i agree there are more disappointments and peacemaking in the middle east than having a positive feeling. but let us not forget we have the gulf war and after that madrid and oslo the and the peace treaty. what happened in the past that the bad guys were much more, and you know, skillful, much more clever, much more determined than the good guys. well, i am a believer that there are some good guys this time they might make it, but as much as you did yourself and other people for that conflict is just you can't keep it going on. you have to keep trying because there are people who are trying to rekindle it all the time.
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all those who are building and making violence, those who are taking the conflict from being between the two nationalisms and to being between religious affiliations. it makes it much more deadly and we don't have the luxury. i would say there is this let us get rid of fat. that is they are away, they made peace. what to do with gaza and under one scenario and the credible scenario will find the guy is so some are used to smuggle both ways to egypt and from egypt. so, we are involved and far better to be involved in peace than in the sake of war.
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>> my name is kim douglas and i just returned from cairo. i am given the external and internal threats. would you be able to give an assessment of the egyptian defense industry and forces and then also want economic initiatives seem promising that would lift the economy basically in egypt and then also just as a side note how do you do hiv reporting? [laughter] >> well, there are two subjects that i don't know anything about. but defense part and the hiv something like that part but i can give you something on the economic side and i guess egypt was touched like all countries in the world with economic crisis and economic crisis reduced the flow of money for the currency earnings to israel
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because the swiss canal, tourism, foreign investment, our exports particularly to the united states. so we have quite an injury but luckily we made a kind of reform in our banking system so we don't have any bad debt and the real-estate business in egypt was not that mature to suffer from what was suffered here in the united states and are a guest of mix of the stimulus package and some how accepting lowering the level of growth in the country in a way ended up with a reasonable outcome, growth rate of about four to
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1.5% which is what glorious but was not negative and i guess there are signs that things are positive in terms of financial markets in terms of the real-estate business. there is a lot of numbers that tells next year probably wou be better. >> thank you, sir. tom wittman. if i understood you correctly when you were talking about the group of suspects rounded up an international connections you said they had other issues that go along with the arab-israeli conflict and you said one thing they have issue with is the suez canal. i should know this but what is the issue with the suez canal? >> i guess the suez canal we have infrastructure for using
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force and my interpretation is iran expecting certain moment with either israel or the united states or both of them and they were putting the the groundwork from egypt to upper egypt to sudan to yemen in order to respond. if you make a kind of military scenario if somebody went and attacked iran and nuclear, you know, facilities and iran would like to respond they have a number of choices. they have a number of choices to do it in iraq and in the gulf region or far away places it depends on appreciation and estimation of the american power distribution in the region and what we think is an intention of the united states in terms of a follow-up strikes against iraq said that was iran worked to
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build an infrastructure in the region to use it in the time of confrontation if it came at any time and to help the palestinians or hamas in particular because it is one of the assets that is used in a much larger kind of adversarial relations or confrontation in the region. >> if you could state your name and affiliation, please. >> i have been in washington the last 40 years. you mentioned the story from cairo. you mentioned the story from washington. how about the story in jerusalem especially with the presence of the new king in the middle east now they call him the king of
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[inaudible] what is the story in jerusalem? >> when i said the story from cairo that is because i am coming from washington because that's where i am and but the story from israel is complex and its ellen probably to need is released to explain that, but i guess the israeli view is trying to get everything before you start anything. the story and israel is we are into a conflict that will continue for a long period of time. and if we can keep a status quo in which everybody is calm and israel would be fine and you would find a variety of people on the israeli press or
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commentators even here in the united states they say that israel never finds it better than this time and things are calm, the economy is not doing badly, there is nobody is shooting israel, there is no suicide bombing and as such that for israel is a good type. the catch on that story is never that kind of calmed continue for ever and so they have got to keep engaging the other parties and that is mine guess this for the israel the strategy is how to pass the obama moment and as such if the obama moment was used my guess israel would be
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faced by hard choices and as such vicky when we say israel are you talking about netanyahu. actually you have some ideas where it is not even known about the idea of separation. there are either pressure to come up with some ideas of how to deal with the real settlement or they will have to face the israeli people. and all of the polls tell us that is really is and palestinians support in general the clinton parameters or at least a majority on both sides. so the story from there is gaining time. >> the woman in the front here. >> picking up on what this gentleman said, that because we are now so in the united states involved in domestic issues that there wouldn't be any support for dealing with the middle east i would like to take a counter argument.
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i think it is the fact we are so tied up and not interested in foreign policy that it might be the moment at which the forces would otherwise be against the settlement in this country or sort of preoccupied with other things can't get the attention but i'm wondering suppose the scenario, the egyptian scenario occurred and somehow or another there was some official statement from the united states that it supported what everybody seems to think of if there ever is a final settlement what it has to be as far as the borders are concerned. what do you think the impact of that would be on israel and palestine? >> well addiction is the nightmare of any analysis. i wish i could tell you we would live happily ever after once there is a settlement. i guess there is a possibility,
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a possibility for the region to take one of the major issues out of the picture and get involved in another kind of business. if i understood you write that you are talking on the settlement situation -- >> no, what would be the impact of the united states and egypt coming out with what everybody seems to [inaudible] >> i think both countries carry their weight. when egypt comes only egypt. it's egypt with a number of countries through the united states is a big country, and i guess taking this step in its own right will not be only fixed at that, it will be taken to other higher levels. i assume there is princeton's the proposition to take it to the security council and come up with a resolution.
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it will be difficult for people in israel or palestine to ignore that and if we look at the history of the arab-israeli conflict, it is controlled by different external actually resolutions and the decisions from about for declaration. it was from england to the 194 and 81 related to the plans and the settlement to the 242. as you go on you will find the externals super power and great power and regional power influence over the conflict is quite. and i don't see this time as an exception if there is an international regional concept of states' that say that is a direction i think that is the only way to get politicians and i am for the imposed peace and
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in the sense that politicians there when they come into settlement the have got to make concessions that would come into the heart of their national dream for the israelis to talk about taking off some of them at least the whole dream about the holy land it would come to an end. we are not talking about the jewish state as much as its release date. for the palestinians who are thinking that and believing that the homeland are the one they were kicked out from in a period of atrocities and violence in international law now it will come into the middle and the heart of the national dream. to help them take the pain of that moment and deal with the future rather than with the past and dealing with an entity that would be, i guess that is the
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need for countries like egypt and united states, france, russia, china, to get everybody on board in to this process. i guess it would be very important. >> i've been ignoring this side of the room. >> stanley with the cato institute. following tom's question would be the repercussions of an attack on iran and do you think it would affect the domestic situation in egypt? >> well i will start to answer from the end. i think it will have an impact that we got during the iraq war with the united states attacking iraq. it was a little anger in demonstrations but that would be a in a sense. however much more important than an internal reaction it will be the strategic reaction to this because iran is not a small
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country. it is a well established state aside from the religious character or the revolutionary character of it. it is a pillar. that is iranians, persian civilization at present time and i guess it will be a big earthquake that's very difficult to handle now. look at the repercussion of iraq to reading or getting into the shia, the amount of violence that happened in iraq and spread to terrorism in lebanon and other places. iran will be iraq ten times over, and i guess we have a strong central government they will have a lot to fight back with and fighting back will affect major egyptian strategic
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interest in the gulf, in iraq and saudi arabia and in some of the things i refer to. we don't know -- once you start that game, then all targets are open for shooting and certainly egyptian and american relations will be targeted for shooting as well. >> who lieberman. one aspect you have regarded as the elephant in the room which is the refugees or displaced persons. without resolution of the displaced person problem, isn't that a showstopper and if we put too much in the distance then we need to a possible compromise which in the end may upset all the other previous agreements. >> there is no one issue of arab-israeli conflict that is easy.
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and the issue of jerusalem is of settlement, refugees, all our delicate ones. because they transcend. settlements are not only business buildings. they are jerusalem is touching all the religious christianity's the refugee issues as well. i am not going to stand here and tell you i think it is solvable. i think there are different formulas worked out. however, it will remain, you know, the position taken by the palestinian people. the palestinian people now will have a choice either to have no deal because of the palestinian refugee issue and wait for a better day, you know, or to come into the agreement because
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actually the refugees are not all of them refugees anymore. those who are in the west, the kids into the third generation americans or canadians are some eda countries. there are major questions palestinian refugee live in a jewish state in the same time that will be another, you know, that is not my point of view. that will be a second refugee status but a refugee coming from jordan to come to be a refugee or second-rate citizen in israel. so here is choices i guess the palestinians get to make and the issue will people give negotiations and settlement a chance using what they call the obama moment or just it


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